Battle for talent: NAB offers employees extra week of leave and pay rises of up to 5 per cent

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The National Australia Bank has offered its employees an extra week of annual leave and pay rises of up to 5 per cent as it negotiates a new enterprise agreement, a proposal described as “unacceptable” by the financial services union.

In an email sent to NAB employees on Tuesday, seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, group executive of people and culture Susan Ferrier said they wanted to provide a “competitive pay increase to colleagues to continue attracting and retaining talented professionals”.

NAB started negotiations with the union on Monday. Credit:The Age

She said NAB had proposed fixed pay rises of 5 per cent in the first year and 4.5 per cent in the second year for staff earning over $100,000, and 4 per cent followed by 3.5 per cent rises for those earning over $100,000.

The company is also proposing an extra week of paid leave each year, dubbed “You Leave”, for employees who have met their requirements for annual leave, rostered days off and long service leave within the financial year.

“We want an enterprise agreement that puts colleagues first by fairly rewarding you and supporting your lifestyle and wellbeing,” she said.

The negotiations come amid severe labour shortages across the country and a fierce battle for talent in the banking sector. NAB employees 32,000 people.

Ferrier said the company believed the proposed package was “the right combination for colleagues and the future of the organisation”.

The email to staff came after two days of discussions with the Finance Sector Union, as the big four banks begin negotiations to finalise a new enterprise agreement, which will be voted on by staff.

Ferrier said in the email that the FSU had raised some concerns, which NAB will respond to as it continues bargaining.

“The pay offer from NAB represents an unacceptable real pay cut for our members and fails to address the cost of living crisis currently being faced by more than 30,000 employees covered by the enterprise agreement,” said FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano.

“With costs of utilities and fuel increasing along with food and everyday supermarket items, some members are being forced to economise and take the difficult decision to trim their costs by not turning on heating at home.

“NAB should be delivering real wage rises for its workers instead of a pay cut.”

The union is calling for a 6 per cent wage rise across the board for all employees covered by the agreement.

“Our members are depending on their union and employee representatives to secure the
best possible outcome and to that end, the FSU will continue to engage in ‘good faith’
bargaining with the bank,” said Angrisano.

“However, it is clear that to achieve a positive outcome, NAB’s management will need to acknowledge the enormous cost of living pressures facing our members and be willing to support them with reasonable pay rises.”

Westpac has also been negotiating with the union over a new enterprise agreement, with the bank offering a $1000 one-off payment for employees to help with the cost of living, excluding general managers, executives or the chief executive.

In an email to staff sent in late August by Westpac’s group executive of human resources, Christine Parker, the bank offered staff a 4 per cent increase for those earning up to $94,000, and 4.5 per cent for those earning between $94,000 and $118,000. These increase to 5.4 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively with the $1000 bonus.

Westpac also proposes to increase “lifestyle and wellbeing” leave from one to two days, on top of annual leave.

Earlier this week, FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano told The Australian Financial Review the union would look to sector-wide agreements if the banks did not meet demands for higher pay and better redundancy protections for members.

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