Commonwealth Bank: It's the greediest!
by Peter Mac Not content with having gained huge profits in recent years the privatised Commonwealth Bank last week rejected a compromise pay deal offered by the Finance Service Sector (FSU). Under the deal, employees of the Commonwealth Bank would have gained a pay increase of 8.5 per cent over two years, with a five percent rise this year for the lowest paid staff and four per cent for others, backdated to May. This was to have been followed by 4.5 per cent for all staff next year. Although the deal was significantly higher than the Bank's offer of 6.5 per cent, it was less than the 9.1 per cent that St George Bank offered recently to its workers. Nevertheless, last Friday the bank rejected the union's offer. Moreover, although the CBA staff had overwhelmingly rejected the bank's offer three weeks ago, the bank has now circulated a letter to staff offering to bypass the union and reach an agreement with individual employees. The letter has been described by an FSU representative as an arrogant attempt to split bank workers from their union. It reads in part: "The FSU has responded to the Bank's offer with a raft of claims that offers no hope of reaching an agreement within a reasonable time-frame. "In these circumstances, the Bank has little option but to consider how its proposals may be delivered directly to employees without the support or agreement of the FSU." The letter concludes "Please talk to your Manager if you would be interested in accepting the Bank's final offer without the agreement or support of the FSU. If you are interested we can make it happen." The Commonwealth Bank pay case has now dragged on for more than eight months, and has involved continuous industrial action and negotiations, including a 24-hour strike. Union officials and members are now bracing themselves for more of the same.