Issue No.5 of 2011
Thursday 24 February

Two strikes law necessary to curb executive excess

Message from the National Secretary,
Leon Carter

I am in Canberra at the moment meeting with Parliamentarians who pledged support for the FSU’s Better Banking charter last year, as well as meeting with other key Parliamentarians, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Independent member Rob Oakeshott.

It has been fortuitous that our visit to the nation’s capital coincided with Parliamentary Secretary David Bradbury’s introduction of legislation to the Parliament that if passed would give shareholders more power to hold company executives and directors accountable, and gives them greater control over executive remuneration.

FSU welcomes this “two strikes” law as the disparity between executive pay and the pay of finance sector employees is something that both members and the general public feel very strongly about.

Our 2010 Better Banking survey indicated 83% of finance workers and 70% of the public and want the government to cap executive salaries.

Those results are not surprising when you take into account that in banking in particular, the average earnings of CEOs is one hundred times that of bank customer service employees. One hundred times. How on earth can anyone justify that?

The “two strikes” law is a step in the right direction, a point we are making with everyone we are meeting with in Canberra. Smooth passage of this legislation through both Houses will clear space for debate on how to further give shareholders power to peg executive remuneration so that it is more in line with community standards.

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Industrial update 

Bankwest employees have the opportunity to vote on a proposed new Agreement that will improve overtime, parental leave and pay. The ballot is open until midnight on Wednesday 2nd March and members are encouraged to vote in favour of the union negotiated Agreement. Read more, including ballot information here.

Members employed by the Commonwealth Bank have only a few days left to endorse the FSU claim for the next CBA EA. The claim forms the basis of our negotiations with the bank, so don’t miss this chance to have your view taken into account. You can read more and endorse the claim online here.

A union negotiated Agreement at NAB, covering 28,000 employees has been approved by Fair Work Australia following a 71% vote in favour of the Agreement. The 3 year Agreement provides for guaranteed pay increases of up to 12% for group 1 and 2 employees over that time. The Agreement comes into effect on Wednesday 2 March 2011, and the first salary increase will be effective in the first full pay period after 1 October 2011.

500 employees at Suncorp have received new contracts of employment that if accepted would erode some of their conditions. This move comes less than two months after the company CEO gave a commitment that no employees would be financially worse off as a result of the latest bargaining round. Employees refusing to accept the new contracts have been threatened with disciplinary action, and FSU is representing a number of these employees. Suncorp employees have been expressing their views on this matter, and you can read their comments as well as posting your own, here. 

Staffing review for Bankwest retail branches
FSU met with Bankwest recently over concerns about staffing levels and availability of relief staff, following contact from union members. As a result, the bank has agreed to take action and Bankwest retail employees should see a marked improvement in the provision of relief staff. The Bank has further committed to a review of Branch staffi ng levels and provide FSU with the outcome of that review. Click here to read more.

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Celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day (IWD) 

The centenary of IWD is fast approaching and FSU’s commemorative t-shirts are selling like hotcakes. There’s still time to get yours if you hurry.
Here’s how: Call FSU on 1300 366 378 and have your debit or credit card details handy. T-shirts are $20 each (incl GST & postage) and look fantastic. Buy one for yourself, your daughter or even your Mum!

You’ll need somewhere to go in your flash new t-shirt, so get yourself along to one of these events.

And don’t forget about the FSU’s IWD Education Grant which has been launched to assist one FSU woman member with the cost of approved education or training. The successful applicant will receive $500. Click here to read more and apply.

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Better Banking blog: Bank war or just long overdue competition? 

All eyes were on the National Australia Bank last week following the bank’s expensive and very public “break up” with the other three major Australian banks ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. The so-called bank war over mortgage exit fees has one clear aim – to lure customers away from their existing bank. Does that make it a war, or just some long overdue healthy competition? And does it confirm what we all suspected, that the big four up until now, have acted as a cartel?

What it does indicate is that at least one of our major banks have heard your message loud and clear – you want better banking.

Opinion is divided on whether NAB’s strategy will benefit consumers in the long run, but any reduction in fees is welcome. After all, if anyone can afford to reduce consumers’ costs it’s our banks. Recently Commonwealth Bank and Westpac have reported on their first quarter earnings - both have reported an increase in profit for the quarter and are on track to break records on their full year profits for 2011.

 Read more and comment

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ACTU supports the call for Better Banking in Federal Budget submission 

The ACTU have thrown their weight behind the FSU’s call for better banking in their 2011 Federal Budget submission highlighting widespread concerns that the nature of the regulatory architecture for Australian banks does not adequately reflect their status as providers of essential services and the need for a social and economic compact for the benefit of all Australians.

 Read the entire Federal Budget submission here

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We’re hiring x 2! 

Fulltime Advocate needed in Brisbane

If you have a sound knowledge of contemporary industrial relations legislation and practices, and the skills to effectively represent and advocate for finance sector workers the FSU’s Queensland branch would like to hear from you. Get in quick for this job though; applications close Monday 28th February. Click here to read more. 

Lead Organiser, Education in Sydney

FSU’s Organising and Development Unit in Sydney is in need of a Lead Organiser/Educator to fill a twelve month parental leave vacancy. The successful applicant will co-ordinate the Union’s Activate and Activated Leaders programmes, prepare education material, prepare and deliver training courses, and lead and participate in training sessions with staff, members and reps. Want to know more?

Applications close Wednesday 2nd March.

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Win the chance to take 10 of your family and friends to see the latest blockbuster 

It's Oscar season again, the perfect excuse to head out and catch one of the Academy Award nominated films. Or maybe a local film, or an independent release is more your cup of tea? Every FSU member who orders 5 Hoyts vouchers in the same transaction during March will go in the draw to win a free trip to the movies for you and 10 friends. With adult tickets at $11 and tickets for children at $9 you can catch some of the best movies of the year at great prices, as well as going into the draw. Call 1300 366 378 to order your Hoyts Movie Vouchers.

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Authorised by FSU National Secretary Leon Carter






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