Job cuts — knowledge and opinion

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Job cuts — knowledge and opinion

The Finance Sector Union has accused WA Premier Colin Barnett of knowing for weeks that BankWest was to cut 400 jobs, but doing nothing about it. Meanwhile, in an attempt at the protectionism that political leaders have warned will extend the current economic crisis, Family First Senator Steve Fielding is to introduce legislation to stop Australian call centre jobs going overseas.

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The Finance Sector Union has accused WA Premier Colin Barnett of knowing for weeks that BankWest was to cut 400 jobs, but doing nothing about it. Meanwhile, in an attempt at the protectionism that political leaders have warned will extend the current economic crisis, Family First Senator Steve Fielding is to introduce legislation to stop Australian call centre jobs going overseas.
 
FSU says WA Premier knew of BankWest job cuts
 
The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has accused WA Premier Colin Barnett of knowing for weeks that BankWest was to cut 400 jobs, but doing nothing about it.
 
The job cuts were on Monday by the Commonwealth Bank, which owns BankWest. The Commonwealth had a half-year profit of almost $2.6 billion in the six months ending 31 December 2008.
 
‘BankWest workers were shocked to hear that Premier Barnett knew about the job losses weeks ago,’ said Lynnaire Young, WA secretary for the FSU.
 
‘ And they are shocked that he defends a bank making more than $400 million a month in profit, but breaking its word about no layoffs.’
 
Put it in perspective
 
Premier Barnett said yesterday he was disappointed with the BankWest job losses but urged people to put the cuts into perspective, considering it continued to employ 3400 people in Western Australia.
 
‘It’s outrageous that taxpayers are supporting Commonwealth Bank and BankWest, but WA’s Premier thinks losing 400 jobs doesn’t represent a change in the scale of its operations and that sacking workers will “stabilise” the bank,’ Young said.
 
‘Australians have had a gutful of politicians defending the very corporate greed that got the world into this mess.’
 
Nine questions for Barnett
 
The FSU has put nine questions Barnett: 
  1. When did you know of the layoffs? 
  2. Upon hearing, what action plan did you execute? If you didn’t have a plan, why not? 
  3. Did you call Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan to urge that Australian taxpayer support for banks be used as leverage to protect jobs?
  4. If not, why not? If so, what reason did Mr Swan give why he couldn’t? 
  5. Why didn’t you launch a campaign to save jobs before the job cuts were announced?
  6. Do you first represent the workers of Western Australia as Premier, or Sydney-based Commonwealth Bank? 
  7. Why did your first public comments defend a company making more than $400 million in profit per month laying off hard-working Western Australians?
  8. Can you explain the lack of outrage from your Government at having been given false commitments at the time of the merger?
  9. How does sacking WA workers ‘stabilise’ the bank? Is the bank unstable? What binding commitments have you sought about remaining jobs?
 
Fielding moves to stop jobs going offshore
 
Meanwhile, in an attempt at the protectionism that political leaders have warned will extend the current economic crisis, Family First Senator Steve Fielding is to introduce legislation to stop Australian call centre jobs going overseas.
 
Many of Australia’s banks, financial institutions and telecommunications companies already use offshore call centres, particularly in India.
 
Keep call centre jobs
 
‘Our proposed legislation, called the Keeping Jobs From Going Offshore Bill, will ensure Aussie call centre jobs stay in Australia rather than outsourcing them to Asia and other countries,’ Senator Fielding said.
 
‘We have to put a stop to the ridiculous practice of outsourcing Aussie jobs to other countries and give ordinary Australians a say on who has private information about them and whether jobs are sent off-shore.'
 
‘When Australians call their bank or phone companies they want to speak to an operator who is based in Australia not someone in India or the Philippines.’
 
Prohibits transfer of personal information
 
Fielding said the Keeping Jobs from Going OffShore Bill prohibits the transfer of personal information by any business to anyone outside Australia without the written consent of the individual.
 
‘Under this legislation, companies will need to write to every single customer and gain their written consent prior to transferring customer data overseas,’ Fielding said.
 
‘In effect individuals will have to opt-in to allow their private information to be given to an overseas subcontractor in a country without adequate privacy protection.'
 
Loss of local jobs
 
‘Big business in Australia makes huge profits on the back of job cuts and it is Australian workers and families who pay the cost with the loss of local jobs.’
 
Fielding claimed the United States is also considering similar legislation in an effort to protect local jobs.
 
‘At this time when keeping Australian workers in jobs must be our first priority, it is wrong for companies to ship jobs overseas at the expense of Australian workers and families.'
 
‘Australians are sick and tired of call centre jobs being given to other countries when we are already being warned by the Rudd Government that our unemployment queues will swell with more than 300,000 Australians expected to be without a job next year.’
 
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