Waikato ANZ staff strike over rostering

21:35, Oct 09 2014

The ANZ bank workers' strike will rumble into Waikato tomorrow, as staff walk off the job.

In a press release yesterday First Union said its members would strike to "protect secure working hours". About 50 staff will walk off the job across Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

ANZ staff began walkouts at the end of September as the Union and bank began negotiating a new collective agreement.

Union members voted down the bank's latest offer by 96 per cent, with 84 per cent in favour of a national strike.

Union retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay was quoted in the release as saying the key issue was work hours.

"ANZ is proposing contracts where workers would only know month by month which days, start and finish times they will be working," it read.

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"ANZ needs to show some respect and decency towards its workers by offering a pay increase that values the contribution they make."

ANZ has proposed pay increases of 3 per cent and 2.75 per cent a year for the next two years, which it said outstrips both increases in the cost of living, at 1.6 per cent, and the average increase in wages at 1.7 per cent.

The union said that was falling behind what other banks offered.

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick sent a press release in response to the union's claims, stating that the bank expected all branches would remain open, and all services would still be available tomorrow.

"We're disappointed that union members have voted for industrial action when a very good offer is on the table," it read. "The average salary of employees on our collective agreement is approximately $59,000 (over $30 per hour), compared with the national average salary of around $55,000. The average salary of our union members after the pay rise we are offering will be more than $60,000."

The press release said flexible work rosters would apply to new employees only, and would allow the bank to meet the needs of customers who wanted longer hours. "The union is simply trying to create an issue out of this because they want a higher pay increase," it read.

The union is unsure how long the strike action may last.

narelle.henson@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

Waikato Times