Bank union’s anti-merger ad campaign to save jobs

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Bank union’s anti-merger ad campaign to save jobs

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) is starting a nation-wide advertising campaign urging shareholders to reject the Westpac takeover of St George, which it says could cost up to 5000 jobs.

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The Finance Sector Union (FSU) is starting a nation-wide advertising campaign urging shareholders to reject the Westpac takeover of St George, which it says could cost up to 5000 jobs.

Rod Masson, acting national secretary, FSU, said the shareholders meeting on 13 November will be the first test of shareholders' confidence in the planned takeover since the global credit crisis rocked Australia.

‘Not a done deal’

‘This merger is by no means a done deal,’ Masson said. ‘Hundreds of St George shareholders across the country have listened to the calls from consumer groups and workers to reject plans for the takeover of St George Bank by Westpac.’

Masson said more than 600 shareholders have supported the FSU position, allowing the union to put a resolution at the Extraordinary General Meeting opposing the takeover.

The nationwide advertising campaign is urging shareholders to attend the meeting to vote in person, or to give the union their proxies.

Threatens thousands of jobs

‘The proposed merger threatens thousands of jobs, reduces competition and will seriously erode consumer choice at this time of unprecedented upheaval in the market,’ Masson said.

He said research has repeatedly shown that the public and finance sector workers are opposed to the takeover, with 76% of people surveyed earlier this year expecting branch closures and 77% believing job losses will take place should the merger go ahead.

‘The EGM gives shareholders the opportunity to have their voices heard by Westpac and the Government,’ Masson said.

Retain diversity

‘Now more than ever we need to retain some diversity in the banking and finance sector, so that we don’t emerge from this crisis with fewer banks, less choice for consumers and fewer jobs for bank workers.’

‘We are currently seeing an opportunistic bargain basement scramble that will alter the finance sector irrevocably. We want to see the Government put in place a moratorium on the current flurry of bank mergers.'

‘Once banks have been swallowed up, competition is lost forever.’


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