Registered users can save articles to their personal articles list. Login here or sign up here

SA banking union plans largest strike since 1920

Sasbo wants banks to consider options other than retrenchments.

South Africa’s biggest financial union is threatening to disrupt the country’s banking industry by leading its 73 000 members on a strike next month, in what would be its largest industrial action in almost a century.

The planned two-day walkout will target lenders that have consulted staff over job cuts in recent months and other institutions that employ members of the Sasbo union, according to General Secretary Joe Kokela. Sasbo wants banks to consider options other than retrenchments and begin a program to re-skill employees whose positions are at risk, he said in an interview on Monday.

“If the banks say no, the struggle continues and we will make sure we shut down the system until they come to their senses,” Kokela said. “We can even make sure replenishment of ATMs are kept to a minimum so that the country runs short of money.”

South African lenders are cutting jobs as they seek ways to lower costs and contend with slow economic growth and fresh competition in the industry from branchless, digital entrants such as TymeBank and insurer Discovery. Redundancies are particularly sensitive as the unemployment rate has risen to 29%, the highest in more than a decade.

Job cuts

Absa Group, Standard Bank Group and Nedbank Group have all consulted with Sasbo in recent months over cuts. Absa is restructuring operations across its business units and Standard Bank is closing 91 branches, while Nedbank is in talks with about 1 500 employees over job cuts or redeployments.

Read: Nedbank demands action on ecomomy as SA profit stagnates

Standard Bank “has made strides to ensure that impacted employees are absorbed into other roles within the bank,” a spokesman said in an email. “Where that hasn’t been possible, or employees have opted not to apply for other positions within the network, we also set aside funds to assist employees acquire new skills.”

Sasbo, founded in 1916, has not yet informed any of the country’s lenders of its plans, Kokela said.

About 20% of Nedbank employees are Sasbo members and the lender hopes to engage the union ahead of the planned action, Chief Executive Officer Mike Brown said in an interview on Tuesday. Nedbank will make arrangements to continue serving clients if the strikes go ahead.

“We have always managed headcount in the bank firstly through natural attrition, secondly through internal redeployment, thirdly through reskilling and only retrenchment as a last resort,” Brown said. “In the last 12 months, we have reduced headcount in the bank by just over 1,000 people, of which only 21 were retrenchments.”

Absa said it’s also reassigned and reskilled staff that have been impacted by its restructuring.

“We do have business continuity and contingency plans that we deploy as and when necessary,” the bank said in an email.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Get access to Moneyweb's financial intelligence and support quality journalism for only
R63/month or R630/year.
Sign up here, cancel at any time.

COMMENTS   12

To comment, you must be registered and logged in.

LOGIN HERE

Don't have an account?
Sign up for FREE

If I understand Mr. Kokela correctly what he threatens to do could be illegal and surely not approved as part of their “strike action”

So why is some cop not knocking on his door right now with a pair of cuffs handy?

Oh. I forgot. This is SA so you can terrorize society even if it is illegal.

No wonder nobody wants to invest here.

I’ve often wondered whether certain strike and protest actions are not actually economic sabotage and therefore either terrorism or treason. If you for example sabotage an Eskom power station, or block the N3, thereby causing enormous economic harm, you are guilty of high treason against your country. In China they would deal with you in the back of an execution van. Surely the scum who sabotage Eskom deserves nothing less than life in an orange overall?

SASBO – who are they really – in my dealings with them since the mid 60’s they have proven to be a rather toothless dog – a bit like that yapper that continues barking at the moon for an interminable length of time and – even when there isn’t a moon.

I think SASBO should read up on the 4th IR, they are soon to be pretty much extinct

The level of stupidity of the members of these labour unions is beyond comparison. I had to face a protect march by the ANC, Cosatu and the Communist Party today. I represented the employer and had to accept the memorandum of demands. The employer is a non-profit, frail-care facility that caters for previously disadvantaged individuals from the whole community. They called me a capitalist and a racist and shouted “Down with capitalism!” and “Down with racism!”. They said that I get a huge salary while I pay peanuts to the workers.

They are wrong on every level. I am a volunteer worker. They did not represent any of the employees. We are a volunteer organisation and none of the members gets paid. Our members and residents represent the entire demographics of the community. Now I ask you, why did they waste everybody’s time with this insulting and futile act?

People just feel pity for them because of their lack of understanding. These union members are like the dog who messes on your lawn. It merely follows its instincts. The act is not intended to insult you. The dog is still a beautiful, friendly animal with an inferior mental capability. Man’s best friend.

In SA we are not renowned for our superior intellect and many studies put the average in the mildly retarded category.

I guess that means half is above and the other half below. That’s the scary bit and it seems as though the “clever half” have worked out how to manipulate the “not so clever half”.

Mildly? I beg to differ, I’m leaning more towards ‘severely’ on this

Good work Sensei; I hope this idiocy didn’t stop you.

But I agree; I had the misfortune to hear the Cosatu “spokesman” on SAFM today, threatening that they were demanded legislation to make retrenching more difficult. His answers to questions were absolutely arrogant, showing he cared nothing for the unemployed or un unionised, let alone employers or companies. Business was generalised as “telling lies”. It was all about protecting union members to the detriment of everyone else. Look in the mirror champ.

Striking to preserve jobs is like smoking to cure lung cancer.

Do these fools realise that even the anc government and their commie union buddies hold shares in and earn profits from the free market banking fraternity?

They just don’t have a clue how economies function!

Sooo…in my amateurish financial opinion…there will be people who will make sure they have hard cold cash in their homes before the proposed strike ..IN CASE…they cannot get it out the ATM or otherwise …NOW…I wonder how many home invasions there will be , as the Yanks like to put it

Load All 12 Comments
End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR
Insider GOLD
ONLY R63pm

Moneyweb's premium subscription is a membership service which will give you access to a number of tools to take charge of your investments.
Choose a yearly subscription at R630pa - SAVE R126

Get instant access to all our tools and content. Monthly subscription can be cancelled at any time.

Podcasts

NEWSLETTERS WEB APP SHOP PORTFOLIO TOOL TRENDING CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: