ANZ Bank has come under fire from unions after disclosing plans to shift up to 500 processing and operational jobs from its New Zealand operations to its offshore centre in Bangalore.
ANZ National plans to move around five per cent of its back office workforce from New Zealand to the Indian city over the next eighteen months, according to reports.
Affected New Zealand staff will be re-deployed. Branch staff and call centre workers are not thought to be affected by the plan.
The move has been condemned by financial sector union Finsec.
"ANZ National is leading a race to the bottom for cheap labour in India by proposing to send these jobs offshore," says Finsec campaigns director Andrew Campbell. "ANZ National keeps increasing its profits so there is no need to take these jobs away from Kiwi workers and from the local economy."
Finsec has also reportedly asked the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to step in to prevent the jobs being shifted offshore. The Reserve Bank's policy requires banks to request approval to outsource core processing functions.
Green MP Sue Bradford also criticised ANZ's move, saying: "Last year ANZ National made $1 billion in New Zealand alone. Companies such as ANZ National have an obligation as good employers in New Zealand to employ their own workers on fair wages. If ANZ National cannot afford to employ its own workers on fair pay and conditions who can?"
The latest move is part of a trend by ANZ to shift work to the Bangalore IT operations centre it acquired when it bought Grindlay's Bank in 1989. In 2005 ANZ said it planned to increase the number of people working there from 650 to around 1000 over the following two years and cut jobs at its Australian operations.
This was followed in 2007 by plans to introduce an online mortgage application and processing service under an automation drive that saw some of the 900 back-office jobs at its home loans unit offshored to India.