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Commonwealth bank staff lash out at WFH rules: ‘Hidden agenda’

Staff at CBA have slammed the bank for forcing them to return to the office.

A composite image of a Commonwealth Bank branch and office workers sitting on building stairs in the city enjoying their lunch.
Commonwealth Bank staff are unhappy about being forced to return to the office. (Source: Getty / AAP)

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) staff have slammed the bank for forcing them to return to the office for at least 50 per cent of the time from July 17.

Finance Sector Union (FSU) national secretary Julia Angrisano said there was no consultation with bank workers before mandating the work-from-home arrangements, and staff were unhappy with the bank’s decision.

“We have asked the Fair Work Commission to intervene in this matter. Instead of issuing edicts, we want the bank to engage in a consultation process with the FSU and affected staff in accordance with the CBA enterprise agreement,” Angrisano said.

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“What the CBA has done is ignore the enterprise agreement and, instead, dictate changes to work-from-home arrangements that currently suit many of its employees.

“Our members at the CBA deserve to be consulted about changes to their working conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that remote work is a sustainable model and this is convenient for vast numbers of workers.”

Angrisano said CBA employees had complained to the union that mandating a return to the office would force them to spend more money on commuting and child care and interfere with their family life. They would also lose at least two to three hours a day travelling to and from work.

“Some workers are so unhappy about the CBA’s edict that they are considering whether to resign and seek other more flexible working arrangements,” Angrisano said.

“We will be asking the Fair Work Commission to order the CBA to offer all affected staff remote-working arrangements on mutually agreeable terms.”

Staff rebelling

CBA staff aired their frustrations to the FSU, with many saying they were less productive in the office.

“When we go in the office, we sit on our own and do our work like at home but with more distractions and costs,” the employee said.

“We only have a 30-minute meeting together. If I don’t make it to the office on our scheduled team days due to sickness, leave or personal reasons like child care, then I have to come into the office on a different day of the month to make up my two team days in a month.

“I will have to go to the office when not a single other team member is in and sit on my own all day just to tick the box. My boss wouldn’t even know I was in unless I go out of my way to let him know.”

Another employee said the new rules meant they would need to “make up” for a day in the office even if they had taken annual leave.

“We’ve been advised that if we’re unwell or have taken annual leave on our designated office day, this would need to be made up on a different day, which doesn’t justify the reason for being absent in the first place,” they said.

“This new directive is no longer promoting CBA’s flexibility, but more of a hidden-agenda preparation towards a full transition back to the office to ensure that our new office at Redfern has seated bodies at the limited desks in our allocated area.”

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