sasboThe Star reports that the SA Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) has vowed to bring the financial sector to a standstill by downing tools next month if banks go ahead with their planned job cuts.  

Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela said the plans for industrial action by the 70,000-member union were being taken for granted by the banks despite its size and the determination of workers, who were feeling exploited by the retrenchments.  “We have been undermined in the whole process and the bus has moved.  For us to stop this bus in the middle of the road, we will down tools and shut the system down,” Kokela said.  The banks include Absa, Standard and Nedbank.  Kokela said Absa had indicated that it would retrench more than 800 employees in the first phase, while Standard Bank was closing down more than 100 of its branches.  The retrenchments, he claimed, had nothing to do with permissible layoffs for operation requirements in terms of the Labour Relations Act when the business was not performing well.  “We did not reach any consensus with the banks because what they did was to come to us with a decision that was already made to retrench people,” Kokela said.  The first strike action is expected to be over two days next month, with a march to banks on the first day and with stay-away action planned for the second day.  Kokela said the union would insist that any cost-cutting measures should include senior executive employees as well.


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