We don’t normally take kindly to trade union whining, in the Northern Wairarapa. But if the bank workers’ union, Finsec, reckons I can flex a bit of political muscle for them down at the Department of Labour (which I can), it should come and have a natter with me.
The union has asked the department to reject ANZ National bank’s application for an exemption that would allow it to streamline the recruitment of non-resident workers for certain roles.
Finsec reckons the bank should be required to invest in local jobs and training instead. Fair enough, I say.
As the union tells it, the rules of the Department of Labour scheme require companies to have a high standard and commitment to training and employing New Zealand residents in order to gain accreditation that allows them to fast-track the appointment of non-residents.
But according to the union, ANZ National this year has announced plans to send around 500 jobs to India, cut around 200 frontline jobs in ANZ branches, announced plans to make about 200 management roles redundant and the tax payer has agreed to underwrite their deposits and borrowing. Bastards.
Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell said:
“Now they want the state to support their choice of employing non-residents during a recession when local unemployment is rising.
“In these circumstances, our largest employer should be made to employ and train locals to fill such vacancies. There are plenty of people within the bank who have been or are about to be made redundant and who are looking for jobs.”
My own sympathy for the banks went out the window when Eketahuna set up its own money exchange (we’re a resourceful bunch) because the big banks bridled at setting up shop there. The buggers wouldn’t even provide an automatic teller machine.
We owe much in the town to the knowledge and experience of Massey University senior lecturer in Banking Studies Claire Matthews, who lives in Pahiatua up the track a tad. She’s a Tararua District Councillor and she proposed the idea of a money exchange for the town, which had no banking facilities since the Bank of New Zealand shut its branch 11 years ago
Eketahuna wasn’t alone. A raft of small rural towns lost their banking facilicies in the 1990s – the number of branches in New Zealand was slashed by a whopping 42 per cent between 1993 and 1999. Some communities, like Maungaturoto and Waipu, established money exchanges.
Matthews visited them, talked to people and brought the idea to my home town.
And that’s why I’ll be right behind the union in its come-to with the ANZ National Bank on the rules for hiring non-resident workers.