4 Mar 2014

Pay for bank workers defended

8:56 pm on 4 March 2014

The Bankers Association is dismissing union claims that workers are under more stress than ever before and deserve better pay and conditions.

The FIRST union represents frontline bank workers and is pushing to improve pay and conditions, saying the four big banks can afford this to due to the sky-high profits being made.

A spokesperson says New Zealand-registered banks' profit after tax in 2013 rose from $3.7 billion to $4 billion - an increase of 8.61 percent.

Maxine Gay says workers need better conditions, as they are being put under more stress than ever before and subjected to completely unrealistic sales targets.

Ms Gray says the banks make billions off their New Zealand customer base and they should lead from the front in their work practices.

"The banks keep promoting this idea that times are tough and that it is a struggle for them. Now we have this KPMG report that shows that the banks have, in fact, made excessive profits - while at the same time the experience of people working in the major trading banks is dismal."

But Banker's Association chief executive Kirk Hope says banks are supportive of their employees.

"I think generally pay and working conditions for bank workers are pretty strong in New Zealand. Banks make a fairly significant contribution to the economy - they spend $6 billion in New Zealand every year just running their businesses here, and that includes money which is paid to businesses in New Zealand."

Mr Hope says banks also contribute to the economy by paying $1.5 billion in tax every year.