The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has identified an estimated $45 million-dollar underpayment at the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) caused by its failure to allow retail banking staff to take ten-minute tea breaks during shifts.
FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said retail bank workers were entitled to one paid 10-minute tea break after working three hours and a second paid tea break after five hours in addition to an unpaid lunch break.
“Our members working in bank branches are entitled to these tea breaks but most never take them because of under-staffing,” Ms Angrisano said.
“Our estimate is that the 3,000 bank staff entitled to tea breaks are collectively owed $45 million dollars because the bank hasn’t bothered to honour its 2016 Enterprise Agreement.”
Ms Angrisano said the tea breaks were negotiated to give bank staff a short rest from continuous face-to-face service to customers.
“This is a claim about tea-breaks but the real issue here is that every bank branch is so short staffed, everyone is run off their feet, without even a moment to have a cuppa.”
“We are calling on the Commonwealth Bank to pay up and reimburse staff for tea breaks they had to work through and to employ more workers to take the pressure off.”
“Workers in bank branches are at breaking point because of staff shortages and the effects of being massively overworked.”
“No-one should have to work so hard that they can’t even take a few minutes for a cup of tea and coffee to recover during a shift.”
It is estimated that on average, each affected bank worker is entitled to $15,000 in back pay.
“This is a further example of insidious wage theft by a bank which in 2017 was forced to give workers $53 million in backpay because of widespread underpayment of wages.”