Westpac has announced tentative plans to offshore 134 South Australian jobs – including those in its mortgage team – to India and the Philippines, a move that’s got the Finance Sector Union (FSU) crying foul.
FSU national assistant secretary, Geoff Derrick, says this latest announcement follows the loss of over 1,000 jobs from Westpac last year, with 565 jobs offshored by the bank in 2012, and says it demonstrates a lack of concern on the major bank’s part when it comes to the domestic job market.
He says Wespac told the FSU it was an issue of current employees lacking “capability, agility and experience.”
“Apparently what they lack is the agility to be ‘a flexible workforce that can scale up and down’. So these jobs are being sent to India and the Philippines because they are filled by permanent employees who earn Australian wage rates – hardly actions of a corporation that is supporting Australia.”
But, in an interview with Australian Broker, Westpac head of group media relations, Paul Marriage, stresses that the decision is still in its gestation period, with a final announcement to be made at the end of the month and says that, should the move go forward, re-deployment will be a priority.
“We’ve got a pretty good track-record of re-deploying and certainly our intention is to re-deploy as many people as we can. We have a budget of over $8 million which we can use to retrain staff for the future…Any impact on job roles wouldn’t happen until July.”
Marriage says Westpac employs 4,600 people in South Australia and that any off-shoring is likely to have minimal overall impact.
Furthermore, he adds that mortgage service jobs being off-shored would account for 'a very small number'.
“We are continuing to hire…We are a large employer in Australia and we will continue to do so. We filled 5,600 roles across Australia last year. But in a period of slow economic growth and a period of change in how processing is done, we are looking at ways to be as productive as we can.”