26 February 2019
Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was right when he expressed concern that the National Australia Bank (NAB) had learned nothing from the banking royal commission.
Barely four weeks after the Commission’s Report singled out NAB for sharp criticism, more than 900 staff are being affected by wholesale cuts to customer service roles at branches across Australia.
And after having briefed FSU officials on its plans under an agreed embargo on public comment set to expire at 5pm on Tuesday, the NAB on Monday broke its own embargo by releasing details of job cuts to the media.
Finance Sector Union National Secretary Julia Angrisano said the staff whose roles are being abolished are those responsible for assisting customers as they walk into a branch.
“It is customer service that is being reduced at the NAB, not staff responsible for sales,” Ms Angrisano said.
She said Commissioner Hayne had also correctly observed that there was a wide gap between NAB’s public face and what the bank did in practice.
“These cuts will have an impact on the service provided to customers and local communities who rely on the essential service provided by these workers,” Ms Angrisano said.
“These workers have been subject to targets aimed at reducing the number of over the counter transactions and now that has been achieved their jobs are being abolished.”
“This is a real kick in the guts for those workers who have served NAB customers loyally over many years.”
Ms Angrisano said staff had been given just seven working days to consider their future, with the job cuts set to take effect from 4 April, 2019.
“The FSU will escalate this matter to the Fair Work Commission to ensure loyal workers have appropriate time to make decisions that will have significant implications on their working lives if NAB does not reconsider the FSU’s proposal to extend the consultation period.”
“We asked NAB to give staff more time to consider their next career move but the bank is in such a rush to shore up its profits, it refused.”
“It is of enormous concern to our members that the NAB still doesn’t understand it needs to work to regain public trust and that can’t be achieved by slashing staff who deliver customer service.”
“This decision is all about the pursuit of short-term profits.”
Ms Angrisano said NAB staff were being treated unfairly by the bank. The FSU estimates more than 90 per cent of staff affected are women.
Here are a sample of comments made to the FSU from affected workers:
“People’s hours have been slashed and many will lose their jobs. We need to fight NAB spin.”
“Just been told that my hours look like they are being reduced from 33.5 to 13 hours in my branch. Can they do this?????”
“There is no negotiation with the hours set out. Let’s hope this is not true.”
“Very sad to hear all this. I believe the number one thing we need to start with is getting more time. They are trying to rush the process. We need to insist on more time!!!”
Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079