10,000 jobs may go in banking sector

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10,000 jobs may go in banking sector

Up to 10,000 jobs are likely to be shed in the banking sector after yesterday’s merger of St George and Westpac, further turmoil in the financial crisis, and reports of big losses about to be sustained by the Commonwealth Bank.

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Up to 10,000 jobs are likely to be shed in the banking sector after yesterday’s merger of St George and Westpac, further turmoil in the financial crisis, and reports of big losses about to be sustained by the Commonwealth Bank.
 
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) is forecasting that the St George merger will cost 5000 jobs, ANZ is today expected to announce cuts of between 500 to 1000 jobs and Suncorp in Queensland said yesterday it is planning to shed 350 jobs on top of 200 already lost.
 
CBA executives yesterday told angry shareholders at the annual general meeting that it has multi-million dollar exposures to Centro, ABC Learning, Lehman Brothers and Allco Finance.
 
Advisory group KPMG last month estimated up to 10,000 positions could go sector-wide in the next 12 months.
 
No guarantees on jobs
 
After getting shareholder approval for the Westpac merger, St George chairman John Curtis, refused to give any guarantees about jobs or employment conditions, although there will be no closure of St George branches for at least three years.
 
Most job losses initially will come from the technology divisions and back office operations, where there is duplication with Westpac.
 
Leon Carter, national secretary of the FSU, said the merger was ‘a dark day for St George bank workers and bank customers’.
 
‘As night follows day, we know takeovers result in mass job losses,’ he said. ‘From today, the union will be watching each and every job in Westpac and St George and we will not let one person, one job, one role slip through the net.
 
Hold Westpac accountable
 
‘We will hold Westpac accountable to the condition put upon this takeover by the Federal Treasurer: three-year guarantees on ATMs and branches, as well as having to sit down face to face with the union and talk about employment conditions and jobs.’
 
ANZ spokesman Paul Edwards said he cannot confirm the exact number of jobs that will be cut.
 
‘It's inevitable there are going to be some losses, I think that's happening right across the sector,’ he said.
 
‘The softening economic environment begins to crystallise. But at this stage I'm not in a position to be any more definitive than that.'
 
‘I'd characterise this more like a belt tightening exercise and certainly there is no plan to cut 10% of our workforce, that would simply be inappropriate in the current economic environment.’
 
Terrible blow
 
Leanne Shingle from the FSU said the job cuts are going to be a terrible blow to workers in the lead up to Christmas.
 
She said the ANZ should do what it can today to publicly confirm the job numbers and to reassure the workforce that there will be some jobs retained.
 
Dr Martin Fahy, CEO of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia said it is difficult to tally up exactly how many jobs have been sacrificed so far.
 
‘This is very worrying for those involved, and it is not a desirable situation,’ he said.
 
There is speculation that Suncorp may be the next bank to fall to one of the majors.
 
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