The ACTU has called on bank customers to support bank workers in their campaign against branch closures, falling service levels and staff cuts.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said staff taking industrial action today at Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank were frustrated by the banks’ refusal to negotiate new workplace agreements that safeguarded banking standards.

“Politicians are doing nothing about abuses of corporate power in Australia. People need to stand up to bullying behaviour. Public corporations have responsibilities beyond just making profits,” Ms Burrow said before speaking to bank workers in Melbourne.

“Big companies like banks have responsibilities to their staff, customers and to the communities in which they operate, especially in regional and remote areas.

“The balance in corporate Australia has been tipped too far in favour of profit. It’s time the balance was tipped back in favour of people.

“The big banks are making $8 billion a year in profit. They got rid of 55,000 workers and 2,000 branches in the last decade. Now they want to cut staff and services even more. People need to take a stand,” Ms Burrow said.

As part of the campaign for a new enterprise agreement, Finance Sector Union (FSU) representatives will address shareholders at the bank Annual General Meetings today of the NAB in Melbourne and Westpac in Sydney.

Stop work meetings of FSU members from NAB, ANZ and Westpac – including Bank of Melbourne in Victoria and Challenge Bank in Western Australia – will be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, and Launceston.