In a move that has earned it the wrath of worker unions, New Zealand’s largest bank, ANZ National, has decided to move up to 500 jobs from the country to Bangalore by 2009. The jobs are in processing and operational functions and don’t involve any contact centre work. Concerns about job loss due to outsourcing have been more common in the US, where anti-outsourcing sentiments have picked up in the run-up to the elections. However, other countries are now becoming more vocal on such issues too. In a statement, ANZ, which employs over 9,600 people in New Zealand, said, “We are proposing to move around 1% of our New Zealand work to ANZ Bangalore this calendar year, and up to 5% by the end of 2009.” The bank has a technology business called ANZ Operations and Technology in Bangalore since 1989. It currently employs about 1,800 people in information technology development roles (about 1,100) and back office and support roles (about 700).
Saying it will redeploy all employees affected by the move, ANZ National said it is confident of doing so as it adds 800 employees every year in New Zealand. “The staged shift of work over the next 18 months will also help staff who wish to be redeployed to find a suitable alternative role within the bank. As a result, none of our staff need to lose their job,” it added in its statement. It also clarified that all customer contact roles, including call centre roles, will remain in Australia and New Zealand. However, the worker unions are not having any of it. Finsec, the union representing workers in New Zealand’s finance industry, said ANZ is putting billion-dollar profits ahead of its Kiwi customers and staff. “ANZ National is leading a race to the bottom for cheap labour in India by proposing to send these jobs offshore,” Finsec Campaigns director Andrew Campbell was quoted as saying in a Finsec statement. The union has asked the bank to make commitments on several fronts, including guaranteeing all affected staff jobs with pay and conditions equivalent to their previous ones, providing job security for at least three years, and guaranteeing that there will be no further offshoring in the next three years. ANZ said the rationale behind the job transfers was to ensure better customer service and increased competitiveness. The customers, it said, would benefit from a longer, 16-hour work window, with Bangalore’s eight working hours added to New Zealand’s eight. “For ANZ National, it will ensure we remain competitive in an increasingly globalised marketplace through our access to a large pool of high calibre staff,” it said in its statement.