How to cope during a banking strike? Go digital

Go online as a way to minimise the impact of a proposed banking sector strike on Friday.

This was the advice from the Banking Association (Basa) on Monday.

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

The comment came following an announcement by the South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) that it would strike on Friday over planned retrenchments in the banking sector.

Basa‚ the national association of domestic and international banks operating in South Africa‚ said its members were taking the necessary precautions to minimise disruption and customer inconvenience ahead of the proposed protest.

It said banks would be operating as usual on the day.

“However‚ in case of any unavoidable disruptions at branches‚ bank customers should as far as possible make use of digital banking services.

“Banks will be carefully monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of their customers and staff‚” Basa said in a statement.

Basa said Business Unity South African was seeking to stop the protest by members of Cosatu and Sasbo‚ and said Cosatu’s notice sent to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) – under which Sasbo was planning to act – may not have satisfied the requirements for the action to be legally protected.

“In part because of these global changes‚ many in the South African banking industry are having to restructure their businesses to ensure they remain sustainable and relevant to the needs of consumers.”

The Nedlac notice was first issued in August 2017 and should not be relied on in 2019‚ Basa said.

The matter is scheduled to be heard in the Labour Court on Wednesday.

Basa said although its members recognised the rights of bank workers to engage in protest action‚ these actions need to be undertaken in terms of the law to ensure the safety of the public‚ businesses and their customers‚ as well as the least possible disruption to the economy.

“In the event of the protest action going ahead‚ we expect the authorities and unions to ensure it is peaceful and guarantee the safety of customers and property‚” the association said.

Basa said the global banking industry was evolving in response to economic pressures‚ digital innovation and the changing way their customers used financial services.

It said the reduction in staff numbers in many traditional banking services was a worldwide phenomenon.

“In part because of these global changes‚ many in the South African banking industry are having to restructure their businesses to ensure they remain sustainable and relevant to the needs of consumers.”

Basa said South African banks were painfully aware of the high rate of unemployment in the country and had been negotiating with staff and their representatives‚ in good faith‚ to minimise job losses.

“Where necessary and possible‚ they manage their staff numbers through natural attrition and by providing training and new opportunities to affected employees. Retrenchment is a last resort.”

By: Ernest Mabuza-TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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