ANZ workers walk off the job

01:22, Oct 10 2014
ANZ strike
ON STRIKE: ANZ workers are not happy with the bank's plans for flexible working.

ANZ Bank staff have today gone on strike across the country, with Wellington workers demanding the bank's $4.1 million boss David Hisco stop ''ratting'' on them.

Tellers and processing workers from the Hutt Valley, Porirua, Levin and Wellington went on strike today, protesting a new collective employment agreement which was unanimously rejected by union members.

The protesters marched from their offices in Tory Street to ANZ's head office in Victoria Street, where an inflatable rat was erected in view of chief executive David Hisco's office.

First Union last week criticised Hisco over his $4.1m pay packet, and staff today demanded he stop ''ratting'' on his workers, with some wearing cut-outs of his face as masks.

Last year, Hisco earned a A$3.26m remuneration package, equal to NZ$4.1m at the time, making him the country's highest-paid executive.

First Union's retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said Hisco earned 120 times more than the lowest paid bank worker.

''That's $80,000 a week, more than most bank workers earn in a year,'' she said.

''Yet he is offering his staff a low pay increase and wants to reduce security so workers would only know from one month to the next which days and start and finish times they are working.''

The bank's workers are being offered annual pay rises of 2 to 3 per cent over the next two years, depending on where they work and when they joined the company.

ANZ, the country's biggest bank, is also including a flexible work clause which gives staff four weeks' notice of their shifts, with no guarantee hours would be spread evenly.

Workers today questioned how Hisco, who earns more than $2,000 an hour, thought the request for an extra dollar an hour for most staff was too much.

''Our efforts helped the bank make a $1.37 billion profit last year,'' the protesters said.

''They could do with showing us a little more respect.''

The proposed contracts would mean some staff only know month by month which days, start and finish times they will be working.

Union spokesman Sam Huggard said there was a big contingent of striking workers from ANZ's call centre in Tory St and the main impact on customers would be delays in calls to helplines being answered.

There could also be delays at some branch offices depending on how strongly the union was represented.
Today's strike follows stopwork action which began last week.

Bank spokesman Stefan Herrick has previously said the salary ranges for almost all jobs covered by the agreement were the highest in the industry.

''It is disappointing that the union are encouraging staff to take strike action when there is such a good offer on the table, '' he said.

The union has counter-offered that up to 20 per cent of workers could go on flexible contracts to help with evening and weekend shifts

Nearly 100 disgruntled ANZ staff and union representatives marched up Auckland's Queen St this morning as part of the nationwide action.

About 25 ANZ workers from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty were also on strike, with another 50 expected to join them this afternoon.

Hamilton union organiser Joyce Tui said there were about 150 members across the two regions. She was unsure how long the strike action would continue.

The union had originally planned to have a picket outside the ANZ branch on the corner of Victoria St and Bryce St, however that was cancelled yesterday in favour of a walk-off.

ANZ spokesperson Stefan Herrick confirmed that all branches remained open and all services were available.