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Commonwealth Bank accused of plans to sack 10,000 staff, shut 300 branches

Jessica Yun
(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has demanded answers from Australia’s biggest bank over whether it has plans to reportedly slash as many as 10,000 jobs and shutting 300 branches.

In a bid to provide certainty to employees, the FSU has called for CBA CEO Matt Comyn to confirm or deny reports that the organisation would sack 20 percent of its workforce and save $2 billion, as first reported by The Australian.

“It is appropriate that you confirm or deny these reports to ensure workers know where they stand,” FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said in her letter to Comyn.

“Can you confirm if the CBA is currently making such plans as reported?”

In a statement to media, Angrisano said: “Unconfirmed speculation of this size can only lead to uncertainty and has far-reaching negative impacts on employees.

A reduction in such a high staff count would have a “devastating impact” on bank workers and families across the country, she said.

Not only that, but CBA customers would be “severely affected” by the closure of 300 branches.

“CBA needs to come clean and tell workers what their plans are,” the FSU said.

The major bank revealed its strategy to become a “simpler, better bank” following explosive unfavourable revelations from the banking Royal Commission.

But the rumoured staff and branch cuts would not aid the bank’s bruised public image, Angrisano argued.

“Matt Comyn is on the wrong track if he thinks shutting down branches and sacking staff will enhance the bank’s reputation in the community and increase profits,” she said.

‘Misleading and unnecessarily alarming’

In a statement provided to Yahoo Finance, the major bank described the “media speculation” as “misleading and unnecessarily alarming”.

“CBA is committed to our people and are disappointed that speculation may be repeated as fact,” the statement said.

The bank had indicated a “need to manage costs where it makes sense in terms of efficiency and as part of good business discipline” in its half-year results announcement in February, it said.

“With respect to our branch network, the suggestion that ‘300 of the bank’s network of branches is under consideration’ is incorrect and misleading.

“We remain committed to our decision to limit our review of branches in regional and rural towns during this financial year, given the conditions currently experienced by rural NSW and Queensland.

“We have also told the FSU that we will continue to consult with the union regarding changes that have implications for our employees and will be open and transparent as soon as any decisions have been made,” CBA’s statement said.

‘Simpler, better bank’

CBA had originally planned a spin-off its wealth management and mortgage broking arm, but announced last month that was on hold to focus in implementing the recommendations of the banking Royal Commission.

“CBA has suspended preparations for the demerger in order to support the focus on these priorities,” the bank said in a statement to the ASX in March.

In November 2017, NAB announced it would be shedding 6,000 jobs and create 2,000 new digital-focused jobs by 2020.

But the cuts didn’t stop there – in February this year, NAB confirmed that up to 180 customer service roles would be cut.

More to come.

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