South Africa’s banking sector is facing one of the biggest strikes since 1920 as 73,000 South African Society of Bank Official (Sasbo) members plan to down tools over mass retrenchment.
The country’s biggest financial union plan to disrupt the banking industry for two days next month while they negotiate with banks to re-skill employees whose jobs are at risk.
Sasbo are threatening that should banks not be willing to consider the re-skill program they will continue to shut down the system and even go as far as ensuring that ATMs are replenished to a minimum, ensuring that the country runs short of cash.
BusinessTech reported that according to General Secretary, Joe Kokela, lenders have been consulting with staff regarding job cuts over recent months as they investigate options to lower costs due to a slow economic growth. The retrenchments also come due to the introduction of branchless digital banking.
With the unemployment rate rising to it’s highest in more than a decade, at 29% it comes as a great concern that Absa Group Ltd, Standard Bank Group Ltd and Nedbank Group Ltd have all consulted with Sasbo over retrenchments.
Absa are currently restructuring operations throughout their business units, Nedbank are considering laying off or redeploying around 1,500 employees and Standard Bank are closing 91 branches throughout the country.
Standard Bank have however made efforts to absorb employees into other roles within the bank and set funds aside to assist with skills development where necessary.
Rumours have begun to spread that MTN are looking at selling off some of their stores and while the cellular giant says there are no plans to retrench as staff will be moved to the new employers, there are still fears of job losses.