Letter to the Editor of the Australian Financial Review

30 January 2007

The Editor
Australian Financial Review
201 Sussex Street
Sydney NSW 2000

30 January 2007

Dear Sir

I refer to a Letter published in yesterday’s edition under the Headline "CBA’s AWA strips conditions" and would like to advise your readers of the deliberate misleading information included in the letter signed by a representative of the Finance Sector Union (FSU).

The statement concerning the removal of conditions fails to mention that the FSU was a signatory to the EBA which expressly allowed staff to choose to work under an AWA. The FSU signed off on this five years ago and in doing so were party to the agreement that Commonwealth Bank staff working on an AWA could choose not to receive allowances such as overtime, shift allowances, annual leave loading, rostered days off in return for which they have been compensated in ways that better meet their needs.

In addition, the Bank has also introduced a wide range of benefits to support staff better balance their work and family lives, including childcare, purchasing of additional leave, individual health checks etc.

There is also an incorrect allegation that staff who choose to be employed under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) are "deliberately frozen in time with pay rates stuck in 2004".

This is wrong. Since 2002 the Bank has unilaterally awarded an annual 4% pay increase, well above the inflation rate for most of this period, to these employees, the latest occurring in July 2006. Moreover these employees have also been paid each year $1,000 worth of Bank shares, one of Australia’s most secure and valuable stocks.

The Bank will continue the practice of generously remunerating staff who choose to be employed on the Bank’s EBA.

In a competitive labour market, the Commonwealth Bank has a vested interest in employees who are happy, engaged and willing to give great service to our customers.

Yours sincerely

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media