Issue No.7 of 2011
Thursday 10 March

What a week!

Message from the National Secretary,
Leon Carter

What a week! In the last seven days we’ve farewelled AXA from the Australian finance sector, seen a banking CEO face questions from a studio audience (and a couple of her employees), and welcomed the return of Bank of Melbourne to Victoria.

Within the union we’ve celebrated 100 years of International Women’s Day, awarded our first $500 Education Grant to a member, and cheered loudly as two FSU Reps were honoured at the ACTU Awards ceremony last night.

Popular ABC TV program Q & A covered a range of topics of interest to FSU members last Monday night when Westpac CEO Gail Kelly joined the panel. Ms Kelly was quizzed about the gender pay gap in the finance sector, executive pay, and asked why there are no women on the bank’s executive team.  Some Westpac employees even submitted a video question and were offered a meeting with the lady herself!  If you missed the show you can catch it online here. 

And finally, I hope you have taken the opportunity to read messages from FSU women on the occasion of International Women’s Day. I found the messages inspiring and hopeful, and I thank these women for sharing their stories with you. You can read their stories, and post your own here.

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Industrial news 

With the AMP takeover of AXA now approved by both the Federal Treasurer and shareholders, conditions attached to the Treasurer’s approval require AMP to consult with the FSU to ensure the best interests of the employees of both organisations are taken into account in the transition to one company and one brand. The FSU held initial talks with AMP recently that reinforced that view.

Bankwest employees have endorsed the new General Enterprise Agreement with 96% voting in favour of the agreement. The first 4% across the board pay increase will flow to employees from April, with improvements to overtime, district allowances and parental leave to take effect once the agreement has been formally approved by Fair Work Australia.

And today’s announcement of the resurrection of Bank of Melbourne in Victoria appears to be good news, with a promise of 800 new jobs over the next 5 years, and an expansion of the union negotiated agreement conditions. Importantly, the union has received assurances that no Westpac employees in Victoria will be impacted by today’s announcement.

Members at CBA have overwhelmingly endorsed the union’s claim for the next EBA and the FSU is meeting with CBA to commence those discussions on Tuesday 15th March. The claim is for a 5% across the board annual pay increase, improvements to the setting of targets and performance reviews and measures to ensure appropriate staffing levels.

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New blog from the frontline – Keeping it Real at CBA 

FSU has launched a new blog to keep members at the Commonwealth Bank informed about the progress of negotiations for the next EBA. President of the Commonwealth Bank National Enterprise Council and CBA employee Louise Arnfield will be filing reports from the coalface and the negotiating table on a regular basis. Read and comment on the blog here.  And if you want to send a message to Louise, drop her a line at . She’d love to hear from you!

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100 Years of International Women’s Day 

FSU Rep and Bankwest employee Kimberley Croning has a bit more support for her studies now as she has been named the recipient of the union’s IWD Education Grant for 2011. Fittingly, Kimberley received the news on International Women’s Day. She is pictured here receiving the grant from FSU WA Branch Secretary Dianne Marshall.

Congratulations Kimberley!

There are still IWD events coming up including a big rally in Sydney on Saturday. Assemble at Town Hall Square at midday.

We’ve received some great photos of members celebrating the day and we are hastily assembling them on Flickr and Facebook for you to enjoy. If you have IWD photos you want to share, load them onto our Facebook page and don’t forget to tell us where they were taken and who was there.

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FSU Reps honoured - ACTU National Union Awards 

It was the union's great pleasure to accept an Award on behalf of FSU Rep Eugene Clark for his work organising and recruiting members throughout Queensland during 2010. Eugene was selected as the Award winner from a strong field of nominations from right across Australia, including another FSU Rep from the Northern Territory Leachelle Pascoe, who was named as a finalist in the category Delegate of the Year.

Congratulations to both Leachelle and Eugene for achieving national recognition of the work they do in their home states, in their workplaces and in their community. I hope that all of our fantastic FSU Reps take from this result the knowledge that the work they do on behalf of the union and union members is incredibly important, and is recognised and appreciated.

FSU in the news 

The FSU is your voice in the workplace, at the bargaining table, in Canberra, and in the national media. Here's a small selection of your union in the news:

 Suncorp slams FSU claims
Insurance News, 28th February

 AMP welcomes government nod for AXA merger
Sydney Morning Herald, 1st March

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Better Banking blog: Lessons from the GFC should not be ignored 

Almost two years on from the Global Financial Crisis FSU National Policy & Communications Director Rod Masson reflects on the lessons that should not be ignored.

 Click here to read more

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Authorised by FSU National Secretary Leon Carter