|Issue No 48||31 March 2000|
Bank-Bulance Hits the Road
A converted ambulance has set off from Sydney to tour regional Australia and check the health of rural banks, complete with first aid kit, medical certificates and prescription forms.
The Finance Sector Union launched the Rescue Service in Parramatta this week, for an eight-week tour that will cover more than 10,000 kilometres, taking in rural NSW, Victoria and Tasmania before arriving in Canberra in late May.
As it tours, the ambulance will stop in country towns to draw attention to job cuts in the banking sector urge local communities to pressure the federal government to develop a Social Charter of banks' community service obligations.
Staff at rural banks will help the ambulance staff evaluate the health of each bank and develop the best remedy to maintain rural services - including industrial action.
Since 1993, 2000 bank branches have close, more than 40,000 jobs have disappeared and the banks have made more than $40 billion in profits.
FSU state secretary Geoff Derrick says there were 6500 more jobs at risk in Westpac and Commonwealth banks alone.
Following the launch Derrick told the weekly Labor Council meeting that he had been overwhelmed by the community's response to the campaign.
"I have never seen such support for an issue," Derrick says. "People feel cheated by the banks - while the profits go up they see the services being cut. It doesn't add up."
Check LaborNet for regular updates of the trip at http://www.labor.net.au
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005