The Commonwealth Bank has been accused of putting “profits before people”, with 113 staff to be sacked and roles shifted overseas to India, according to the Finance Sector Union.
Workers in sectors such as technology and customer service specialists based in Sydney and Melbourne will be told their jobs will be moved overseas just before Christmas, the union said.
CBA’s Indian subsidiary is currently recruiting around 100 positions, with specialist positions in risk management, payments, technology solutions, program design and data all advertised on its website to begin work at its new Bangalore facility.
Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Julia Angrisano said the latest round of offshoring was a “kick in the stomach” for bank employees working behind the scenes to keep the CBA’s massive profits afloat.
“This is the thanks given to these key people in Group Operations, Technology, Data Analysis and Risk Control. They are being thrown out of work by the bank that puts profits ahead of people,” she said.
“The workers who are losing their jobs are doing the vital back-office processing of bank checks, time deposits, liens and inheritances
“Laying off workers and outsourcing their jobs is one of the ways CBA generated $9.6 billion in profit last fiscal year and $2.5 billion in profit in the September quarter.”
According to the FSU, the major bank sent 100 jobs to India in August 2021 and another 270 jobs in September this year.
“Our members at CBA have no doubt that the new jobs in Bangalore will not attract the same salaries that are paid for the same jobs in Australia,” Ms Angrisano said. “And that’s the only reason CBA India exists to cut costs.
“These layoffs will erase decades of institutional knowledge from CBA, as some of these employees have been with the bank for more than 20 years.”
The union demanded that customers should question what happens to their data when work is sent abroad.
Ms Angrisano added that the latest string of layoffs is “staggering”.
“CBA is communicating to these workers that their positions are being downsized so that CBA can ‘shape its workforce to meet evolving customer needs and expectations,'” she said.
“CBA says it wants ‘access to talent in India with global experience’ and ‘access to productivity benefits by housing related teams together’.
“These laid-off workers know when they are being lied to. You know CBA executives only think about profits and their own fat bonuses.”
A spokesman for Commonwealth Bank said it established CBA India to expand its capabilities to support its strategy of building the bank of tomorrow for our clients today. “For that we need world-class skills and that means recruiting and investing in the best talent, both locally and globally,” they told news.com.au.
“Some of the skills we need are hard to find on a large scale in Australia. The entire industry is facing this challenge. Global banks have long had operations in India which has resulted in a large talent pool in India with world leading expertise.
“We are committed to supporting and investing in our people, wherever they are. As we continue to transform our workforce to execute our strategy, our goal is to support everyone affected by change through reskilling and reskilling initiatives.”
Recruitment for staff in Australian positions is outpacing recruitment for positions in other international locations, with over 8,500 recruitments in Australia in FY2022, the CBA spokesman added.
The latest round of job losses comes as this year saw a brutal downsizing of the big bank’s branches across Australia.
Westpac closed another 23 branches across Australia in October in a decision described by a union as a “appalling decimation” of the network, which would also see a number of cities lose their last bank and 92 job losses.
The move means Westpac has overseen the closure of 95 stores over the past four months, according to the FSU.
NAB, CBA, St George’s and Bank of Melbourne have also closed 37 branches across the country, with the union describing the closures as a “crisis point”, with the big four closing more than 550 bank branches across Australia since January 2020.
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