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Westpac's move to restore Saturday trading welcomed



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NEWS RELEASE J O H N H O W A R D , M .P .

M E M B E R F O R B E N N E L O N G S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R IN D U S T R IA L R E L A T IO N S , E M P L O Y M E N T & T R A IN IN G

IRET 3/91

WESTPAC'S MOVE TO RESTORE SATURDAY TRADING WELCOMED

The greater flexibility and wider spread of working hours that Westpac is seeking in its applications to vary the Bank Officials' (Federal) Award is sensible.

Weekend trading is essential for any firm in a service industry seeking to satisfy the requirements of customers who do not have time to attend to their personal affairs during weekday trading hours.

At the moment, banking customers and potential customers are forced by the terms of the award to comply with existing weekday business hours.

Customers are conforming to the requirements of bank employees, rather than the bank and its employees conforming to the requirements of customers.

It is plainly ludicrous that some years ago Australians were denied Saturday banking and postal services when changes in social and personal habits were creating a greater demand for them.

The Commission's treatment of the applications will be an indication of the ability of the award restructuring process to accommodate a large firm's attempt to improve its service delivery.

Under the Coalition's industrial relations policy, Westpac would not have needed to seek the Commission's approval to vary the award to extend its trading hours if sufficient staff agreed to work a five-day week over a six-day period.

Nor would it have to submit to terms and conditions that may be imposed upon it by the rest of the industry as it will have to do if the present applications become a test case.

The bank could simply reach its own agreement specifying remuneration, spread of hours, and other conditions with those of its employees willing to work the more flexible hours.

CANBERRA 12 February 1991