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September 29, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Strike action around New Zealand

ANZ Staff Strike
On 22 August, ANZ staff held a protest on Manners Street outside their bank’s offices. Finsec Union members in ANZ National reluctantly agreed to vote on the bank’s offer of a pay rise less than the rate of inflation after the bank refused to engage in negotiations. Staff had also wanted the Bank to remove debt sales targets (i.e. requiring employees to sell a certain amount of debt to customers via credit cards and overdrafts), as they believe the practice to be immoral, but ANZ said they would not alter such targets.

A flyer handed out by staff pointed out that the bank’s CEO Graham Hodges makes over $2.5 million per year, while profiting from “sending hundreds of Kiwi jobs to Bangalore.” ANZ National’s most recent half-year profit is $692 million, up nine per cent on the same period last year.

University of Canterbury Tea-Room Rebellion
A few weeks ago, University of Canterbury facilities management sent an email to the staff of their registry building, stating, “The work commencing tomorrow involves the reduction in size, by one office bay and an access corridor, of the staff tea room. The opportunity will be taken to refresh the décor and to enhance lighting levels within the tea room.”

However, the 178 staff who use the tea room discovered the next day that it had in fact been halved to make way for a management office, and subsequently did not have enough room to eat without spilling food on one another. Association of University Staff (AUS) Canterbury branch organiser, Gaby Moore, wrote to the facilities manager asking them to stop being “dicks.” The manager replied that the changes were “routine and not related to employment conditions so much of your email regarding consultation in an employment contract sense is not relevant.”

Fortunately, AUS eventually negotiated a compromise, stating that they will “be seeking alternative space for the office and a guarantee from the university that it will not interfere with members’ right to take their legitimate breaks in comfort.”


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