ANZ is facing fierce opposition to proposed changes to employment conditions, with a union boss accusing the bank of having “no respect for the industrial laws of Australia”.
The accusation, made by Finance Sector Union national secretary Fiona Jordan, came before ANZ’s 21,000 employees were due to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) this week.
ANZ hit back at Ms Jordan’s comments, saying “there is no basis for this claim.”
The new agreement seeks to change the definition of ‘ordinary working hours’ and introduce ‘flexi part-time employment’. It will also change the conditions for claiming redundancy.
In its communications with members, the bank focused heavily on proposed pay rises. It meanwhile referred to the changes to redundancy conditions as “enhancements to our redeployment arrangements, aimed at having more of our people stay with ANZ following restructures.”
Ms Jordan described the changes as “casualisation by stealth”.
“There is no certainty or job security for future ANZ employees and the FSU is concerned this will cause preferential treatment over existing permanent part-time employees,” she said.
Ms Jordan expressed particular concern about the role of bank tellers, saying that if a teller is offered a job in a sales role and refuses, he or she will no longer be eligible for redundancy pay.
“The teller’s role is becoming redundant over time. Many people who work at tellers in branches make a really considered choice about being a teller, and not moving to a sales role, which is a really high-pressure role. And there are many people who don’t feel they have the skills or capacity to move into those roles,” she said.
Ms Jordan also criticised the way ANZ had engaged with the FSU, saying they refused to have an independent umpire such as the Fair Work Commission as an arbiter for disputes. “There is no avenue for staff to go to have that resolved in an independent, fair and equitable way,” said Ms Jordan.
A spokesperson for ANZ refuted Ms Jordan’s claim that it has “no respect for the industrial laws of Australia”, saying: “We have dedicated five months to discussions and review in good faith with the FSU, who represent about 20% of our Australian workforce, so we believe there is no basis for this claim.”
On redundancy conditions, the bank said: “Existing safeguards will remain. A renewed focus on capability and retraining will help keep more of our people in jobs when there is restructuring.”
It also defended the flexi part-time arrangements and expansion of ordinary hours, saying they were similar arrangements to those in place at other banks.