Commonwealth Bank cuts workers’ wages
Posted by Bill, April 19th, 2009 - under Australian politics, Banks, Big business, Bonuses, Bosses pay, Capitalism, Economic crisis, Fighting back, Finance Sector Union, Great Recession, Jobs, Living standards, Resistance, Strikes, The Great Recession, Trade unions, Unions, Wage cuts, Wage freezes, Wages, sackings, unemployment.
Ralph Norris, the head of the Commonwealth Bank, is going to cut his salary by ten percent. That’s $300,000.
That could save around 5 jobs, this year, out of about 30,000 staff.
Norris’s remuneration package (salary plus options, shares and other benefits) is actually worth nearly $9m. He earns about 200 times the average salary of his workers.
So the cut is more like 3 percent of his pay. For a man on $9 million a year this is no sacrifice at all really.
The real target of this spin job is his own staff. Norris is freezing the salary of those on over $100,000.
Those below that figure are getting a wage ‘increase’ of 1.5 per cent this year.
This is an effective wage cut of almost two per cent (assuming inflation is still around 3.7 percent, which I’ll grant it may not be.)
[In fact since I wrote this one indicator of inflation is now at 2.7 percent, but core inflation is over 4 per cent. Core inflation is the figure the Reserve Bank worries about - Bill 27 April.]
Norris’s tokenistic posturing is aimed at convincing staff to accept this real wage cut. I hope the usually timid Finance Sector Union and its members fight against these wage cuts and don’t accept the lie that this is all the Bank can afford.
Bank profits are at record levels, with the CBA making about $4 bn. That’s more than enough to pay a miserly 4 percent pay increase to overworked staff.
And I hope the Union and its members don’t fall for the lie that this real wage cut will save jobs.
Qantas shows that this is not the case. Wage cuts and job losses last year didn’t protect the 1750 Qantas workers earmarked for the sack this time around.
30,000 Commonwealth Bank staff could strike tomorrow and stop the flow of profits to Ralph Norris and force him to grant real wage increases with no job losses.