Unexpected Life Changes thanks to the ANZ Bank!

This is going to be a very long and emotional blog update to write.

Way back in September last year we got a new manager in our little Waitara Branch of the ANZ, and from that moment my work life changed dramatically!

I had been working at the bank for 8 years. I was initially employed as a casual and have continued to work on a job share basis, with differing work hours. For approximately 3 years I worked one week on and then my job share lady worked the next week. This was fantastic for being able to spend time with my grandchildren. I would get a weekend then a week and then another weekend off…that makes 9 days off work, and then 5 days back working. I also upfront led the childrens music ministry program called mainly music every Tuesday morning, so the time off gave me hours to spend in preparation and planning. I love my work hours!

The next 3 years I have worked a different time schedule…My job share lady worked Mon, Tues and Wednesday and I worked Thursday and Friday. Not quite so easy for time away, but still very good….in fact I felt blessed! Two days work a week was great to plan around, and the income was fantastic for purchasing products for my ‘little’ hobby…Scrapbookin ! And….I was a great staff member. Seldom did I not balance. I was acurate with figures and money. I knew all the computer programs. I had developed great relationships with the customers and over the 8 years I had had only 5 days off on sick leave…with 2 of them being domestic leave. I also got on well with the other staff members and the managers, up until this new one…but eventually I realised that she was just doing what she had been trained to do!

Changes in our work environment started to appear when the ANZ decided to drop the National Bank Branding, and just become one ‘Super Bank’. As we had a vacancy in the Managers role in Waitara the position was filled with a lady who came from an ANZ Bank. Immediately we noticed a difference in work ethic! The emphasis on sales was huge! Now I do understand that any business needs to be able to make a profit. If I ran a business I would expect a return for my investment! But the whole focus became a focus of looking for opportunity for a sale with every customer. We were to look for prompts to begin a discussion on how we could promote a sale based on the customers financial circumstances. We they going on holiday? Then travel cards, travel insurance and maybe a savings account were suggested options for the customer. Etc..Etc…You see if I was able to ‘sell’ on of these products, I could log it in as a sale….and if I met my sales target for the year…I would get my annual bonus!!! I initially reacted badly against all the changes and the way the new manager forced the sale talk on me every work day. I felt I would be rude to the customers to try to on-sale them every time they just came into the bank to either just bank some money or withdraw some funds. Eventually….the pressure to meet my sales targets and be a good employee paid off and I began to change my attitude to comply with my employers demands. They were paying my wages after all.

I managed to get my sales target up to 93% before the end of the financial year. Not quite enough for the bonus, but a huge improvement from where I was at 37%. If I hadn’t taken holidays and gone to visit family in Sydney over Easter I may have even managed to get the last 7%, but time spent with family was and is really important to me.

However, during the time from September until March this year my job share lady was suffering hugely. The demands from our new manager and the pressure from her to ‘get on board’ with the changes, came across a bullying. My job share lady got sick and every time she came to work she felt the stress of work pressure and management demands too much to cope with. She ended up on stress leave and sick leave, and finally at the beginning of March, she realised that she could no longer continue to work for ANZ. She handed in her resignation! I then realised that I had only one month left of my job under the job share contract. The contract ended with one of us resigning. The New Plymouth manager came out to see me and the offer was full time work. I declined that offer as I don’t want to be a fulltime worker at 56 years of age…and I have never worked full time with the ANZ/National bank and it has always been acceptable. I asked the manager if there could possibly be any other offers of work. I and another employee would be happy to continue to work the job share hours and I asked if the Bank would be interested in that option. He said he would get back to me, and also let me know what the actual final day of my contract would be.

I proceeded to go to Sydney for Easter having had no further communications from the New Plymouth Manager, and my branch Manager was on annual leave in Hong Kong. I emailed the New Plymouth Manager before I left New Zealand and then again before I left Sydney. He answered the last email and said he would come and see me when I am back at work. I arrived in New Zealand on the Wednesday and went to work Thursday and Friday. On Thursday the New Plymouth Manager called in in his lunch hour to talk to me. He said that the offer had been made to me for fulltime work and I declined it. I asked if there were any other positions available that I could work…his answer was ‘an offer has been made to you and you decined it’ He then asked if I could carry on working until a replacement is found for me. I questioned how I could keep working when my contract had finished? Everyone needs an employment contract. My job share ladies final day was Monday the 8th of April. Thursday was the 5th of April. He said he would get back to me by the Monday and possibly by Friday. I worked all day Friday and got a phone call from him at 4.40pm. The doors shut at 4.30 and we were still busy doing the end of day close procedures. Thank God we balanced and had no difficulties in closing the branch.

He immediately advised me that the bank had made me an offer and I declined it. He wasn’t prepared to discuss other options at all. I asked him when my last day would be then. He said that I still had to work the next Thursday and Friday.

When I got home I looked up the contract and it read that the job contract would end on the final day of one of the job share people…so it ended on Monday the 8th. I emailed him to say that I would be finishing on Monday as per the contract and also wrote that it wasn’t my decision to leave the bank, and I was disappointed that they couldn’t find a position that worked for both the bank and myself. He had said many times that any new casual position would only be open to a person that was prepared to eventually become a full time employee. This means that the ANZ bank was not open to full time workers reducing their hours at any time. Trained staff that left the bank would not be offered any further employment, unless they wanted another fulltime position. How does that work for young woman who have a family and want to reduce their working hours, or woman like me that are getting older and don’t want to work fulltime! I have never felt so sad about such an unreasonable attitude an employee can have.

So, I now am unemployed!

Thanks for nothing ANZ Bank!!!

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