‘It was terrible’: Union survey finds 93% of NAB staff work unpaid overtime

The Finance Sector Union has surveyed more than 1200 employees across NAB, finding a corporate culture of unpaid overtime and bullying leading to widespread health impacts.

7/12/2021 4:01:00 AM

The Finance Sector Union surveyed 1254 employees from NAB’s 30,000 workforce, finding 93 per cent reported they worked more than the contracted 38-hours per week without appropriate additional pay and 87% said this had caused health problems ...

The Finance Sector Union has surveyed more than 1200 employees across NAB, finding a corporate culture of unpaid overtime and bullying leading to widespread health impacts.

Normal text sizeVery large text sizeAdvertisementNational Australia Bank staff have reported bullying and unpaid overtime in a union survey, which details a spike in mental health problems so severe that some employees claim they were hospitalised from the stress.

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The Finance Sector Union (FSU) surveyed 1254 employees from NAB’s 30,000 workforce, finding 93 per cent reported they worked more than the contracted 38-hours per week without appropriate additional pay and 87 per cent said this had caused health problems.

The Finance Sector Union has surveyed 1254 NAB employees and found 93 per cent worked unpaid overtime.Credit:Brent Lewin/BloombergThree-quarters of those surveyed, working in “group three and above” level roles across NAB’s business, retail and institutional banks, said unpaid overtime was expected yet less than half (48 per cent) had raised concerns with management. The average salary range for this cohort is $104,043 and $225,826, with additional bonuses paid for overtime, according to NAB. headtopics.com

The FSU’s report, titledWorking for Nothing,includes a series of anonymous interview excerpts from staff who claim heavy workloads were met with unrealistic deadlines and those who complained were sacked, bullied or financially penalised.The majority of respondents claimed NAB’s corporate culture had resulted in a range of health impacts, including increased stress and anxiety (87 per cent), loss of sleep (76 per cent) and physical injuries such as back and neck pain (33 per cent).

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“I have been hospitalised with stomach ulcers which [a] doctor advised was a result of work stress,” one response said. “I got anxiety, went on antidepressants, my heart rate was elevated for two years, my sleep was poor, I put on 10 kilograms in weight, I didn’t exercise. It was terrible,” said another.

NAB’s people and culture executive Susan Ferrier said workload impact on staff mental health is taken seriously and staff are encouraged to raise concerns with managers or through confidential whistleblower lines. “Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and NAB does not expect colleagues to be working unreasonable additional hours,” she said. “NAB colleagues should be fairly paid for the work that they do.”

FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said the union’s investigation into NAB started with efforts to calculate the extent of unpaid hours but has now expanded to potential breaches of workplace health and safety laws, after discovering the physical and mental toll sustained by staff. headtopics.com

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AdvertisementThe union will meet with hundreds of NAB members this week to discuss legal action, which would include alleging breaches of the Fair Work Act in a lawsuit that could be filed early next year. Ms Angrisano said the union’s report would be delivered to chief executive Ross McEwan this week.

“This is not a one-off incident in a pocket of the bank. There was a systemic problem that management knew about. When staff raised the concerns, they said you have to find a way to make it work,” she said. “That really stood out. They turned a blind eye.”

Ms Angrisano said problems with NAB’s workplace culture represented a governance risk for the bank, as under-pressure staff do not complete work to their best of their ability.“Workers are fatigued, they’re cutting corners, they’re not meeting all the requirements of the job,” she said. “All of that has to have a risk on the bank in terms of the work that’s being performed. Are we meeting compliance and regulatory standards? There’s a big question mark over that.”

Read more: The Age »

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