South African banking union plans largest strike – South Africa’s biggest financial union, Sasbo, is said to be threatening to disrupt the country’s banking industry by leading its 73,000 members on a strike next month.
This is billed to be its largest industrial action in almost a century. see more details below.
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 programme 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 Ltd.
Job cuts in the country are particularly sensitive as the unemployment rate has risen to 29 per cent, the highest in more than a decade.
Absa Group Ltd, Standard Bank Group Ltd and Nedbank Group Ltd, have all consulted with Sasbo in recent months over cuts.
Absa is reported to be restructuring operations across its business units, Standard Bank is closing 91 branches, while Nedbank is in talks with about 1,500 employees over job cuts or redeployments, Bloomberg News reported last week.