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Australian union calls on government to halt offshoring

02 May 2008  |  7611 views  |  0 Sydney Opera House 2

Australia's Financial Sector Union (FSU) has called for the country's government to act to prevent banks from shifting jobs to overseas centres amid concerns that Westpac is looking to offshore more work.

In a press conference following the release of the bank's first half results, Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly denied local reports that the bank was planning to shift 3000 back office jobs to India over the next three years in order to cut costs.

But she did state that Westpac would continue outsourcing and offshoring operations.

In a statement responding to the reports, FSU called on the federal government to "review all bank licensing arrangements to ensure that Australia's major banks maintain back office jobs in the country".

Leon Carter, national secretary, FSU, says the offshoring would "hollow out the Australian finance industry, leaving a nation of bank shop fronts".

"Back office workers are the backbone the Australian's major banks performing hundreds of important task such as handling customers' sensitive banking information," says Carter. "What's needed now is for the Federal Government to take this opportunity to rein in the Banks and protect bank jobs from being sent offshore."

In 2006 Westpac was forced to shelve plans to shift over 400 loans processing jobs from Sydney to an offshore centre in Bangalore after New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma warned that any move would be taken into account when a lucrative contract the bank had with the government expired.

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