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Chris Zappone
March 24, 2009 – 2:19PM

ANZ Bank will shift 100 call centre jobs to New Zealand in its latest move to save money by hiring lower-cost overseas staff.

The bank will no longer replace staff at its Melbourne-based Dorcas Street or Mulgave call centres, relying on annual attrition of about 30% in its call centre group, ANZ said in an email to employees obtained by BusinessDay.

For more on job losses, see our Jobs in Jeopardy index.

“I do want to be upfront with you … and let you know that this means that, over time, there will be 100 fewer call centre roles in Australia,” said Pam Rebecca, general manager of the Australian Call Centre division of ANZ.

“Given the staff turnover rate however I know we can manage this change with minimal impact on our business, our customers and our people.”

ANZ confirmed two weeks ago that more than 500 back-office positions would be eliminated in Australia and shifted to Bangalore in India this year, where it currently employs 3000 staff, as part of a broader strategy to refocus on Asia for growth.

In the email dated today, ANZ said Australian call centre consultants “could remain in a role” but also revealed plans to recruit 100 call centre operators in Wellington, New Zealand.

”There are a lot of similarities between our businesses and our customers in Australia and New Zealand and its natural that we work more closely together in some areas,” said Australia division chief executive Brian Hartzer in a statement.

ANZ’s call centres employ almost 900 people and have an annual employee turnover ”of around 30% which is as high as 50% in the service call area,” the bank said.

”The bottom line is that there will be no redundancies among our consultants as a result of the change and all consultants who want to work at the Australian Call Centre can remain in a role.”

Union reaction

The Finance Sector Union blasted the bank for eliminating positions during a downturn.

“ANZ bank has pocketed billions of dollars in profits off the backs of Australian taxpayers – at least $5 billion in past 15 months – and yet it continues to send the jobs of Australian workers overseas,” said FSU national secretary Leon Carter in a statement.

“The Finance Sector Union is urging the Federal Government to use its financial assistance to force ANZ to keep Australian jobs in Australia.”

In comments to Indian media last year, ANZ said back office operations could disappear from Australia over the long term.

czappone@fairfax.com.au
http://business.theage.com.au/business/anz-sheds-call-centre-jobs-20090324-98ac.html

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