Should bank workers strike they will face consequences

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Sep 26, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - The much-anticipated strike by workers in the banking industry has been successfully interdicted by the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, saying that the proposed action was unlawful.  

Business unity South Africa (Busa) had on Wednesday approached the Labour Court seeking an urgent interdict against the strike by Sasbo (formerly the SA Society of Bank Officials).

At least 50 000 workers were expected to join the banking sector national strike, and cripple the finance industry at least for a day in their protest against job losses in the sector. 

South African banks have been cutting thousands of jobs and closing a number of branches as they move from traditional banking model to digital systems, which encourage customers to use the internet and cellphone banking instead of walk-in at branches. 

Sasbo is calling for a moratorium on job cuts and has offered various solutions to prevent retrenchments, including up-skilling of workers and the regulation of top officials’ salaries.

But Busa successfully applied for an interdict against the strike, arguing that Sasbo was using an outdated section 77 notice to the National Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to the issued in 2017, which cannot be relied upon or be applicable in 2019. 

This now means that should unions and workers go on strike tomorrow, their action would be an illegal strike and may face consequences. 

Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela said yesterday that the union would appeal the court’s judgment if it did not favour the union today.

The union is yet to announce the next course of action in light of this devastating blow to its plans. 


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