Westpac has been slammed by a labor union after the bank made unprecedented job cuts to keep its bosses ‘luxurious retreats’.
The retrenchment is essential to build key skills among staff, according to the bank, but the Finance Sector Union (FSU) says it’s a grim look for the bank.
About 200 mid-level staff are staying at Rydges Resort in NSW’s Hunter Valley wine region where they can enjoy sweeping views of the countryside, pools and a golf course.
With 772 staff made redundant so far this year, the FSU said the retreat was a ‘slap in the face’.
So far the bank has laid off 77 employees in July alone.
Westpac has been slammed by a labor union after the bank made unprecedented job cuts to hold a ‘luxury retreat’ for its bosses.
About 200 mid-level staff are staying at The Rise Resort in the Hunter Valley wine region where they can enjoy sweeping views of the countryside, pools and a golf course.
Ross Miller, Westpac’s chief customer engagement officer, is running the ‘hypocritical’ trip, which FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano has protested against.
‘It is hypocritical for Westpac to push our members out the door while Ross Miller’s leadership team takes a luxury Hunter Valley break,’ Ms Angrisano said in a statement.
‘This is a slap in the face to Westpac workers, who have already lost their jobs in challenging economic times and told us they will be unable to make ends meet.’
When Westpac began cutting staff, management cited the need to ‘carefully manage costs’ as the reason for doing so, but ‘kicking its heels at the expense of Westpac staff’s jobs’ was unacceptable, according to Ms Angrisano.
Westpac told news.com.au that the trip was an obligation to their shareholders.
‘We have an obligation to invest in the professional development of our people, which benefits our employees, customers and shareholders,’ the spokesperson said.
‘This may mean that we sometimes bring staff together from around Australia for private events.’
Ahead of the trip, the bank axed hundreds of jobs in the first two weeks of June, with the FSU saying its treatment of workers was ‘cruel and appalling’.
Westpac said in a statement at the time that it was part of a larger aim to deliver a ‘simplification and cost reset programme’ to account for the ‘ongoing economic uncertainty across the country’.
‘In February 2022, we announced plans to simplify the bank, improve accountability and reduce costs. This ongoing restructuring is part of our simplification and cost realignment programme,’ they said.
‘We will support our staff as we make these changes.’
With 772 staff made redundant so far this year, FSU says the retrenchment is a ‘slap in the face’
Westpac told News.com.au the trip was an obligation to their shareholders
In the six months to March 2023, Westpac celebrated a $4 billion profit, a 22 percent increase on its previous six months.
The FSU condemned the figures, as well as the bank’s multimillion-dollar sponsorship of the NRL, including an $8 million sponsorship of the NSW Blues.
Company executives also received pay increases during that time.
This mix of job losses and corporate profits prompted FSU to launch a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ campaign.
‘This clearly shows that Westpac is making a choice to prioritize profits over people,’ the campaign page reads.
Workers who survive the cuts and make it to the Gateway Resort can enjoy the ‘expansive playground’ on offer, as it is advertised on the resort’s website.
The location is perfect for holidays from weddings, and especially business conferences, where ‘retreat corners perfect just for you’ await visitors.
For organizations that choose them for conferences and training exercises, the site promises that it ‘goes beyond the traditional, fun and adds innovation to every agenda’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Westpac and the Finance Sector Union for comment.
The FSU has condemned Westpac’s $4 billion profit announced in March, as well as the bank’s multimillion-dollar sponsorship of the NRL, including an $8 million sponsorship of the NSW Blues, while the bank continues to lay off staff.
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