CBA retrenchments aimed at boosting share price, says union

A Commonwealth Bank plan to shed hundreds of staff was designed to please the share market with little regard for those who lost their jobs, a union official said on Wednesday.

Finance Sector Union (FSU) state secretary Kerry Brinkley said at least 500 Commonwealth Bank staff across Australia could lose their jobs over the next two weeks, almost half of them in Queensland.

About 150 miscellaneous staff, many of them bank tellers, and 33 assistant branch managers, would lose their jobs across the state, she said.

The bank has said there will be 400 redundancies nationally resulting from a review of branch positions and changing customer patterns, with more people banking online.

It said the cuts came as the bank took on 300 more call centre staff and 200 more relationship managers.

But Brinkley said the redundancies were part of a series of cost-cutting measures forcing customers to use automatic teller machines, the Internet and telephone banking.

"There are actively deterring your average customer from coming into the bank," Brinkley said.

Banks had a vested interest in the staff cutbacks, she said.

"Every time there are sackings, the share price goes up.

For some people, there was little hope of finding another job or being redeployed in another position, Brinkley said.

She said the bank employed about 3500 people in Queensland, about 70 per cent of whom were members of the federally-based Finance Sector Union.

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