Home Business Thousands of NAB staff could strike after ‘paltry’ 5% pay offer

Thousands of NAB staff could strike after ‘paltry’ 5% pay offer


Staff are set to strike over National Australia Bank’s “paltry” offer, arguing it does not address the rising cost of living and that the organization is suffering from a “staffing crisis”.

It will be the first time in 20 years that the bank, which employs 32,000 people, could face a strike by its workers.

The bank has offered employees earning less than $100,000 a year a 5 percent raise in the first year and 4 percent in the second year as part of a new corporate staff agreement.

For those earning more than $100,000, a 4.5 percent increase is proposed, followed by a 3.5 percent increase.

Financial Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Julia Angrizano said wages were lagging behind the cost of living and bank workers’ wages were falling behind.

She added that the “paltry” pay offer contrasted with NAB chief executive Ross McEwan’s pay rise of 113 per cent in 2021 from $2.3 million to $5.3 million.

“CEO pay is out of control and McEwan and his bosses are happy to accept big jumps in pay and bonuses while telling workers they need to take a cut in real wages,” she said.

“Obviously, wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, which is causing the standard of living for many workers to decline.”

Part of NAB’s proposal includes an annual salary review for more senior staff, but the union said it would mean around 60 per cent of the workforce would have no certainty of a pay rise.

“All our members need a pay rise of at least 6 per cent as soon as possible and it is not good enough to subject most NAB staff to pay review meetings with management,” Ms Angrisana said.

She added that the proposed 5 per cent pay rise was not keeping pace with inflation, with Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers saying in July that he expected inflation to reach a whopping 7.75 per cent by December 2022.

Some members told the union that they had not received a raise for 10 years as a result of being excluded from the automatic salary increase.

Others said the rising cost of living was causing “significant stress”.

“As the cost of living goes up, my partner and I’s chances of being able to afford a house are going down because everything is going up except our salary,” said one employee.

The company also offered an additional week of paid vacation each year to employees who met the requirements for annual leave, vacation days and extended work leave during the fiscal year.

But the union argued that the current proposal sought to bring back conditions such as loading of annual leave and registered days off.

“NAB’s management believes their ‘business as usual’ model is good enough, but our members are very disappointed that the bank refuses to acknowledge the crisis of overwork and understaffing or the need for change,” Ms Angrizana said.

“If NAB will not act, then our friends will act. They have indicated they are returning to workplaces to stage protests with their colleagues if NAB does not improve its offer.’

Industrial action could include strikes, stoppages of work meetings and overtime bans for thousands of former USSR members.

NAB, along with other major banks, have passed on outsized interest rate hikes to their mortgage customers.

However, there were no big jumps on offer for savers, with an average rise of 0.55 per cent, compared to a 1.75 per cent rise in interest rates, and the move is expected to help boost the bank’s overall bottom line, RateCity found.

NAB chief executive of people and culture Susan Ferrier said a lot had changed in the workplace since the bank’s last deal in 2016.

“We are committed to modernizing and putting our trusted colleagues first by rewarding them fairly, supporting their flexibility, lifestyle and wellbeing, as well as introducing an extra week of leave and improving entitlement to parental leave,” she said.

Originally published as Thousands of NAB staff could strike after ‘paltry’ 5% pay offer


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