Oamaru ANZ workers join national strike

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Oamaru ANZ workers joined a national strike on Friday in an effort to protect secure working hours.

FIRST Union members from Oamaru held a strike from 8.30am to 1pm with a picket outside ANZ, on Thames St, from 12.30-1pm.

The Oamaru bank workers took part in the strike after 96 per cent of members nationally rejected the bank’s latest offer of flexible contracts and a minimal pay increase.

FIRST Union retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said under the proposed contracts, workers would only know month by month which days, start and finish times they would be working.

“Bank staff have lives outside of their job. They have childcare requirements, commitments to community, faith and sports groups.

“Many bank workers undertake tertiary study with set lecture times.

“Chopping and changing hours may suit ANZ, but it does not work for workers.”

New Zealand’s largest bank needed to pull back on its proposal to casualise work hours, she said.

ANZ also needed to show some respect and decency towards its workers by offering a pay increase that valued the contribution they made and it needed to be significantly greater than the current 2-3 per cent offer, the retail and finance secretary said.

Dunedin-Oamaru FIRST Union organiser Shirley Walthew, who attended Friday’s picket in Oamaru, said the workers did not like striking as they wanted to look after their customers but their rights and lives needed to be recognised.

“People are just annoyed. They just want to be treated seriously.”

There were 10 Oamaru ANZ bank workers who participated in the strike, which is the majority of employees at the bank, Ms Walthew said.

The national strike followed several strikes held around the country over the past fortnight.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ACTION TAKEN: Oamaru ANZ workers joined a national strike on Friday in an effort to protect secure working hours.