Bank tellers forced to clean ATMs
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Author: KIM MACDONALD
Publication: The West Australian (Thursday 12 Nov 2009)
National Australia Bank is forcing its staff to clean hundreds of ATMs, sending them kilometres out of their way, in what the finance union says is a penny-pinching bid to save on cleaning.
A written directive, obtained by The West Australian, has assigned each branch a number of ATMs and a toolkit, including cleaning instructions, gloves and microfibre cloths. The directive claims branch managers should develop their own cleaning schedule by getting staff to clean ATMs on their way to or from work, on either side of their breaks or during quiet periods.
The Finance Sector Union has called on the bank to scrap its Love Your ATM program, claiming the network was already severely understaffed and could not afford to lose workers to cleaning duties. FSU local executive secretary Lynnaire Young accused the bank of trying to save money on the cost of a proper cleaning contractor. "Here is a bank that is making literally millions of dollars every day and yet it has been struggling for the past two years to put on appropriate staff levels," she said. "On top of that, bank staff are now expected to clean ATMs, which is probably the last thing they expected to do when they signed up for a career in banking." Mrs Young said no other bank expected its tellers to clean ATMs that were not directly outside their own branch.
She said NAB had refused to explain whether staff would be paid extra for cleaning that occurred before or after work. It was also not certain whether it would reimburse travel costs, or if workers would have to take public transport if they did not have their own vehicles. Mrs Young said the Mt Lawley branch would be responsible for most ATMs, at 15, while Rockingham would look after 13 and Joondalup staff would clean 12. She believed travel distances were up to 10km. NAB refused demands yesterday to scrap the program, claiming it was important for staff to help keep the machines clean for customers. A NAB spokeswoman said staff could call a central number to take over cleaning ATMs that were covered in vomit or graffiti. She rejected union claims that staff were at risk of needle injury, with syringes sometimes deposited in receipt bins, saying the cleaning instructions abided by occupational health and safety guidelines. She said Armaguard, which provided the cash-in-transit service, would continue emptying receipt boxes and doing maintenance, but help from staff would ensure the ATMs got more regular attention.