The Absip president Sibongiseni Mbatha called on Minister Ebrahim Patel and the Department of Trade and Industry for the current amendments to the Companies Act to include disclosure of five-year trends of pay ratios and gender pay gaps. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (Absip) has called on banks’ management and unions to get back to the negotiating table and craft well-balanced solutions, in the wake of threats of an unprotected strike in the sector.

Absip president Sibongiseni Mbatha said in a statement on Thursday that the association was aware that Cosatu and its affiliate, the Sasbo, would appeal the labour court ruling interdicting the planned banking sector strike on Friday.

Sasbo announced on Thursday that it would launch an urgent appeal against the labour court judgment that barred the strike. Cosatu said the battle against job losses at banks has only been “postponed and not cancelled”.

Mbatha said: “In any economy or sector, job losses are worrisome and a cause of concern. As digitisation, automation and competition from new banking entrants such as mobile banking took effect, the job losses had been anticipated for a long time.

“Unfortunately the bank management has not prepared staff for alternative positions and opportunities. These could have taken the form of skills training and seed funding for small business formations for employees at risk.”

Standard Bank closed 104 branches, affecting more than 1 000 jobs. Nedbank, FNB and Absa also trimmed branches, with Absa reducing its own from 885 in 2011 to 698 in the first quarter of this year.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce on Thursday said the banking strike which was planned for Friday and which could have resulted in a complete shutdown of systems, including ATMs, should be seen as a warning to South Africa that better planning is necessary to deal with the changes brought about by the development of new technology.

Mbatha said what was also of concern to Absip was the trend of increasing pay ratios and gender pay gaps in favour of management in the financial sector.

“We believe companies with more than 50 employees must be obliged to disclose five-year trends of pay ratios and gender pay gaps. This would help in reducing the income inequality gap in South Africa which is the highest of 158 countries as published by the World Bank.

The Absip president called on Minister Ebrahim Patel and the Department of Trade and Industry for the current amendments to the Companies Act to include disclosure of five-year trends of pay ratios and gender pay gaps.

BUSINESS REPORT