The country’s largest financial union is planning a major strike to take place this Friday, which may leave the country crippled.
Speaking during an interview with SABC, the general secretary of the South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) Joe Kokela urged locals to withdraw as much cash as they’ll need ahead of the strike, and also fill their car tanks.
“The total shutdown speaks to anything and everything that has got to do with banking in this country; it will come to a standstill,” he said. “The ATMs might also not be working on the day of the strike and even those who are using the swipe machines, those machines might not be working. We are appealing to the people, especially the motorists that they better make sure that on Thursday they fill up their tanks. We are appealing that they withdraw enough cash on Thursday.”
Banks across the country are striking in protest of major retrenchments in the industry, as many banks are making use of digitised systems that no longer require staff. Sasbo is 73 000 members strong, and wants banks to consider alternative options to retrenchments, such as re-skilling employees whose jobs are at risk.
“This strike will be part of a build-up to the 7 October full-blown national strike,” Cosatu Deputy General-Secretary Solly Phetoe said to BusinessTech. The Sasbo strike has the full support of Cosatu.
Absa, Standard Bank, and Nedbank Group have all consulted with staff about cuts in recent months, and Absa is restructuring operations across its business units. Standard Bank is closing 91 branches, while Nedbank is in talks with an estimated 1 500 employees over job cuts or redeployments.
Sasbo’s website stipulates that there are five locations where banking employees will be striking, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
Disgruntled employees are expected to take to the streets on Friday, this march is expected to be made up of 15 000 – 20 000 protesters.