Protests won't solve issues, banks say as they welcome order banning strike
Protest action will not help address the problems facing the banking industry but will instead burden the economy and deter investment.
This is the comment from the Banking Association South Africa (Basa), following an order by the labour court on Thursday barring the proposed protest action by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and finance union Sasbo.
Basa said the only sustained solution was improved education and the attraction of higher levels of investment to drive economic growth and job creation.
"These require government, labour and business to work together in the national interest," it said in a statement.
Basa - the national association of domestic and international banks operating in SA - said the labour court accepted the view that Cosatu’s notice to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) of a planned protest, under which Sasbo was going to act, had expired.
Sasbo had planned to protest against retrenchments in the banking sector.
Basa said on Thursday that the Nedlac notice had first been issued in August 2017, and could not be relied upon.
Basa said its members recognised the rights of bank workers to engage in protest action.
"However, 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 of the economy."
The association said South African banks were painfully aware of the high rate of unemployment in the country and were doing as much as possible to minimise job losses.
Where possible, banks managed their staff through natural attrition and by providing training and new opportunities to affected employees. Retrenchment was a last resort, it said.
“Between them, South Africa’s six largest banks had 154,441 employees in 2018. This is an increase from 148,500 in 2015. Given the strong growth in smaller banks and financial technology companies, the financial system in total remains a growing employer,” Basa added.
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