Finance Sector union takes action over CBA work from home edict

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) is taking action in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) over the Commonwealth Bank’s edict to force employees to return to the office instead of working from home.

The FSU filed a dispute in the FWC today over the mandate that staff return to the office 50 per cent of the time from 17 July.

FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said there was no consultation with bank workers prior to the CBA mandating a reduction in work from home arrangements and a large number of FSU members 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,” Ms Angrisano said.

“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.”

Ms 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.”

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

Quotes from FSU members employed at CBA:

  • When we go in the office we sit on our own and do our work like at home but with more distractions and costs. We only have a 30min meeting together. If I don’t make it to the office on our scheduled team days due to sickness, leave or personal reasons like childcare then I have to come into the office on a different day of the month to make up my 2 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. When the boss heads in to the office voluntarily on a non-team day, they will highly encourage the team to come in as well even though it’s not a requirement. The other day we went into the office for training and the training was cut short so they could send us back to production. They don’t even utilise the team days for team activities, we are always rushed back to work.
  • We’ve also been advised that if we’re unwell or have taken Annual Leave on our designated office day, this will need to be made up on a different day which doesn’t justify the reason for being absent in the first place. 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.
  • I CAN do 2 or 3 days in the office to meet the 50%. However, I am more productive at home
  • This change will have a financial, productivity and engagement impact. I work in a different state from the rest of my team, I’ll have to do all the commuting to simply sit in the office by myself on team anyway.

/Public Release. View in full here.