NAB mulling attack on union's excessive hours lawsuit

·2-min read
Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

A landmark union test case alleging that NAB demanded employees work long hours without pay could soon be under attack by the big four bank.

The Finance Sector Union is suing the banking giant in the Federal Court, saying employees worked unpaid lengthy overtime because that was the way they could meet targets or be considered for promotions.

In a brief case management hearing on Friday, Justice John Halley heard NAB and its subsidiary MLC were considering the FSU's pleadings and whether to file an bid to toss any parts of concern over the coming months.

In what's known as a strike-out application, a party in a Federal Court case can apply to a judge to reject some or all of a statement of claim if it is defective.

"That's as I understood the position of (NAB and MLC)," said the union's barrister Lisa Doust.

The bank has until June 16 to notify the union of any proposed attack on its pleadings.

If no issues are raised, NAB and MLC will file their defences by July 6 and the matter will then take the next steps to a final hearing.

The lawsuit is a test case filed on behalf of four managers allegedly required to work up to 16 hours a day to meet excessive workload demands.

Some of these managers allegedly had to work weekends without pay and sometimes without meal breaks to avoid being fired or complete tasks assigned to them.

The FSU is asking for court-ordered compensation payable to the four managers plus penalties paid directly to the union.

If the union wins, it will ask NAB to repay up to 10,000 staff who also worked for similarly excessive hours.

The bank has previously denied that it expected staff to work unreasonable additional hours, saying that the health and wellbeing of its employees was its priority.