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Westpac job cuts unacceptable

Date of Release: 
Friday, February 3, 2012

A new round of job cuts in Australia from a massively profitable operation like Westpac is unacceptable, the union for New Zealand bank workers said today.

Following talks with the bank, Australia’s Finance Sector Union has estimated 560 Westpac Australia jobs will be affected, in areas such as administration and technical services.

“Westpac is very profitable on both sides of the Tasman, and this is very disappointing news,” said Andrew Casidy, Finance Secretary for FIRST Union (formerly Finsec).

“The only rationale for these job cuts is to cut costs at a time when Westpac is making large profits and can easily afford to keep these jobs.  They should be reinvesting in their business and protecting jobs, not sending work overseas.”

The large Australian banks should bear a stronger corporate social responsibility onus, he said.

“They were protected by Australian (and New Zealand) citizens during the global financial crisis with a bank guarantee scheme.  They need to avoid, as Federal Employment Minister Bill Shorten has described, a breakout of corporate amnesia,” Andrew Casidy said.

Andrew Casidy said he had spoken with local Westpac management today who had confirmed there are no plans for job cuts in New Zealand at present.

“New Zealanders would be very angry if there were job cuts here from a bank that has recently announced a 41% rise in New Zealand annual cash earnings and whose local CEO George Frazis has been generously paid as high as $NZ 5.8 million in one year.”
 

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