Major bank strike planned for Friday

Banking union Sasbo plans to strike against job losses in the banking sector. However, the industrial action might not go ahead as banks have applied to the labour court to stop the strike.
Banking union Sasbo plans to strike against job losses in the banking sector. However, the industrial action might not go ahead as banks have applied to the labour court to stop the strike.
Image: Gallo Images

Finance union Sasbo expects tens of thousands of its members to go on strike on Friday over planned retrenchments in the banking sector.

But the union has to overcome the hurdle of an application by the banking industry for an interdict to stop workers striking.

The application, which the union will oppose, is expected to be heard in the labour court on Wednesday.

“The banks have filed an interdict to stop the strike, which we will be opposing in court on Wednesday. We believe this is an empty threat and a delaying tactic by the banks,” Sasbo  secretary-general Joe Kokela said.

Kokela said Friday’s strike was the first of two planned by the union and its parent trade union federation, Cosatu.

“Another major strike has been called by Cosatu on October 7,” Kokela said.

He said during the planned strike, workers would also call for a moratorium on job losses. Banking sector employers should clarify how they planned to deal with the fourth industrial revolution and what was being done to help upskill workers, Kokela said.

“We worry that the banks do not understand what the future world of work entails,” he said.

When the union announced plans for the strike earlier, Kokela said Standard Bank planned to retrench 6,000 employees, Nedbank 3,000 employees and Absa 878 employees.

However, Standard Bank poured cold water on the claim and Nedbank told BusinessLIVE that it did not have plans to cut 3,000 jobs.

It said after a reorganisation process at the bank, fewer than 100 employees remained unplaced.

Kokela insisted at the time that his figures were correct.

Tax service Sars on Monday encouraged taxpayers to prepare ahead of the planned strike.

Sars said the anticipated protest action might affect transactions related to tax payments and refunds.

“The SA Revenue Service would like to ensure that the effects of the strike on these transactions is minimised for both the taxpayer and Sars. 

“To this end, taxpayers are encouraged to submit their payments two business days in advance and, similarly, conduct any tax transactions that may result in a payment to Sars  two business days in advance,” it said in a statement on Monday.


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