|Issue No 78||17 November 2000|
Union Puts Heat on Bastard Bank
By Andrew Casey
Anger at the way the Commonwealth Bank is treating its customers, and its 22,000 workers, has prompted the LHMU to look at the option of withdrawing several million dollars from the bank's accounts.
" Our union is responding to community anger, and our members' frustration, with what was once the people's bank - the Commonwealth Bank," Jeff Lawrence, the National Secretary of the LHMU, says.
" We want to join with other groups by using our collective financial muscle to show the Commonwealth that we are unhappy that customer service has been thrown out the door.
The Commonwealth Bank's workforce has been put under the gun to make more and more sales, and process more and more money every day - and the staff say they have been told to just forget about old-fashioned customer service and customer loyalty.
" At the same time the Commonwealth Bank is clawing back more money from their employees by forcing them out of the security of a collective agreement and onto individual contracts," Lawrence says.
The LHMU is now investigating alternative banking and investment options.
The union will make its final decision on the advice of the ACTU and the Finance Sector Union, if the Commonwealth Bank fails to negotiate a collective agreement.
Boss gets $2 mill a year - 68 times average bank worker
" The boss of the Commonwealth Bank, David Murray, pays himself more than $2 million a year.
" Compare David Murray's pay packet to an ordinary, full time Commonwealth Bank worker who earns a little under $30,000 a year.
" That means the boss of the Commonwealth Bank gets paid nearly 68 times the average wage of a full time worker at his bank," Jeff Lawrence pointed out.
" Commonwealth Bank workers have just received a little over 3 per cent as a pay increase.
"But David Murray got nearly 20 percent increase in his pay last year - and an amazing 59 per cent increase in his pay over the last three years.
" So while the Commonwealth Bank boss saw his pay packet zoom he now expects his workforce to take a cut in pay and conditions as he demands each of them accept individual contract.
" Meanwhile David Murray's Commonwealth Bank customers are also expected to accept worsening services," Jeff Lawrence said.
Deteriorating consumer satisfaction
" Of all the major banks the Commonwealth has the worst record on deteriorating customer satisfaction, excessive executive salaries, staff relations and branch closures.
" Consumer surveys reveal a sharp decline in customer satisfaction with the Commonwealth since 1997 making it the Australian bank with the lowest portion of customers who choose it because of good service.
" The Commonwealth has closed 438 branches in the past 5 years and has targeted a further 250 for closure.
" A 20%, staff turnover at the bank is amongst the highest in the industry and already low staff morale has been shattered by the bank's recent decision to issue individual contracts to all its 22,000 Australian staff.
" All of this is happening at a bank which increased its profit last financial year to $1.7 billion.
" The LHMU has now written to David Murray pointing out that we are upset by the Bank's current anti-union agenda of pursuing individual contracts.
" We have asked the Commonwealth Bank to clearly indicate their preparedness to change their industrial relations attitude to their employees and contractors."
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