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Report urges equal opportunities in banking



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M I N I S T E R F O R

E mployment E ducation & T raining T H E H O N . J O H N D A W K I N S N . P .

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REPORT URGES EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN BANKING

Australia's part-time banking workforce has skills and abilities which are not being fully utilised, according to a report released today.

New research also has found award restructuring alone has not been enough to ensure part-time bank employees have access to career paths and training opportunities.

These are among the findings of the report "Award Restructuring and Part-time Work m Banking'Yeleased today by John Dawkins, Minister for Employment, Education and Training.

"Based on a detailed profile of women's position in the banking industry and analysis of the impact of recent technological ana industrial changes, the report makes recommendations which would improve working conditions for part-time employees in banking, most of whom are women," Mr Dawkins said. ‘

Significantly, the report recommended award entitlements and over-award benefits on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees.

About 11 to 15 per cent of the total workforce involved in banking are employed on a part-time basis. This represents almost 17,000 people of whom 95.6 percent are women. About 70 percent of part-time workers are 27 years or over.

The report indicates a significant proportion of part-time employees admitted feeling "second class" bank members and isolated as a result of difficult hours.

According to the report:

"The part-time workers' feelings of being a secondary labour force within banks accurately reflects the historical view of both banks and the unions - that part-time workers are not part of the core workforce.

"Part-time workers have been cost-effective to banks in the past because the rates paid to them have been low, expenditure on training and staff development has been minimal and they have not enjoyed comparable terms and conditions to full-time employees. The banks also enjoyed the flexibility of being able to change the hours of part-time employees w ith little notice."

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Part-time bank employees are looking for promotional opportunities but the report revealed the concept of a "career" was reserved for full-time officers.

The report concluded that in theory, award restructuring provided career and training opportunities. It concluded, however, that there is a clear need for support by banking personnel, and staff development and affirmative action initiatives.

"The value of the report is not confined to a working document for reform in the banking industry," Mr Dawkins said.

"It is also valuable in understanding the situation of part-time workers in other industries, most of whom are women.

"It provides a model for reform of training and career path development in those industries."

Co Pu pies of the report are available from Australian Govern: blishing Service bookshops at $6.95 each.

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February 27,1991

Enquiries: Wayne Burns Mr Dawkins' media adviser (06) 277 7460.