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Issue No. 291 25 November 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

International Relations
Globalisation drags up all sorts of contradictions, none the least the attitude of nation states to international law, as show by events in Australia this week.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Public Defender
The CPSU's Stephen Jones has confronted the Howard Government's IR agenda at close quarters.

Legal: Craig's Story
An inquest in western NSW is a cautionary tale of the use of AWAs, writes Ian Latham

Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
The WorkChoice legislation sends Australia down the wrong economic road by smashing the instittutions that have made it strong, argues Greg Combet.

Industrial: WhatChoice?
The Howard Government has shown itself to be the master of illusion, writes Dr Anthony Forsyth

Politics: Queue Jumping
The changes to industrial laws, betray a new vision of Australian society, writes James Gallaway.

History: Iron Heel
Conservative governments using laws to take away basic civil rights. It's nothing new, writes Rowan Cahill

Economics: Waging War
When was the last time you heard an Australian politician talk about incomes policy, asks Matt Thistlethwaite

International: Under Pressure
The push for UN intervention in Burma is intensifying, following a report by Vaclav Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu into slave labour.

Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
More and more people are meeting Billy, the hero of page 15 of the WorkChoices booklet, including our resident bard, David Peetz

Review: A Pertinent Proposition
Nick Cave's "Australian western" touches on some themes still relevant today, Julianne Taverner writes.

N E W S

 Senators Back Rorters' Charter

 Families Last in WorkChoices

 Howard Loses Poll Position

 Printers Stamp on Low Paid

 Tough Men Back CFMEU

 Kiwis Fly into Starbucks

 Vale John Ducker

 Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

 Memberships on the increase

 Uni Union Shown The Door

 In a Flap Over Flu

 Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line

 Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

 Barnaby's Choice

 Wal-Mart Exposed

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Men and Women of Australia
What makes a perfect speech? Michael Fullilove has scoured Australian history to find out.

The Locker Room
The Hungry Years
Phil Doyle gets the feeling we’ve been here before

Culture
From Little Things
Paul Kelly's song about the battle for land rights misses one important character, writes Graham Ring

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at Public Private Partnerships, and wonders if we should all just drink rum…

L E T T E R S
 Demonise the Laws
 Name and Shame
 Unite and Fight
 The Worker's Best Friend
 What Choices?
 Stop the Corporate Rot
 The Telemarketeers
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line


Staff cuts and not banking fees are the cause of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's woes, say the Financial Service Union.

Following new chief executive Ralph Norris' identification of poor customer satisfaction levels at a market briefing last week, FSU national assistant secretary Sharron Caddie says tens of thousands of job cuts over the last 13 years, 3,700 of which were under the current "Which New Bank" restructure, are the root of the problem.

"Loyal staff simply cannot hold the place together anymore," says Caddie, adding a change of management approach is needed.

Norris, who succeeded David Murray as chief executive in September, blamed the CBA's decision to lift its bank fees and the weekly absence of around 1000 frontline staff from their counters due to internal training for the poor result, a claim which Caddie dismisses.

"Cutting 20,000 jobs over 13 years, cutting branches to the bone and severely reducing the face to face regional business banking presence, retrenching experienced staff in successive business banking, branch and other restructures while leaving remaining staff to struggle with inadequate support is not the way to provide quality service to CBA customers" she says.

Norris also identified a decade long "under investment" in the bank's business lending for a fall in market share in that sector over the last three years from 15.2 percent to 13.4 percent.

"Mr Norris says his focus is now on training staff to use CommSee [CBA's new IT system]," says Caddie. "But as this week's revelations have shown, technology alone will not equal customer satisfaction."


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