The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) today announced that it will finally remove pay secrecy clauses from employment contacts, becoming the last of the big banks to do so. The Finance Sector Union (FSU) published a report in March highlighting the enormous cost – upwards of $500 million dollars each year – to workers, of CBA’s pay secrecy requirements.
Years of sustained pressure from the FSU has brought CBA into line with ANZ, NAB (National Australia Bank) and the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) which have also announced that their workforces no longer have pay secrecy obligations.
Today’s announcement is long overdue, coming just 48 hours after Westpac made the same commitment. The policy shifts come ahead of a Federal Election that will see these clauses outlawed under an Albanese Labor Government.
The full-time gender pay gap in the finance industry is 26.9% and much of that is driven by a lack of transparency. While the FSU welcomes the abolition of secrecy clauses this is only the first step in eliminating the gender pay gap.
The FSU is prepared to work alongside the CBA to take the next step and introduce a disputes procedure that provides their workforce with a mechanism to challenge inequities in pay when they are uncovered.
The following quotes can be attributed to Julia Angrisano, National Secretary, Finance Sector Union of Australia:
“CBA’s announcement today is long overdue and makes them the last of the big 4 banks to recognise the role that secrecy plays in reinforcing pay inequity.”
“This announcement by the bank will give workers the freedom to highlight inequities in pay when they are uncovered without fear of losing their jobs. That is an important first step but will not in and of itself drive down the 26.9% gender pay gap in our industry.”
“The FSU recognises that the big 4 banks have now set the industry standard. We call on the rest of the industry to follow suit and take this opportunity to remove pay secrecy across the entire finance industry.”