Absa denies mass retrenchments

By Drum Digital
29 March 2012

Absa on Thursday denied claims that it was firing 3000 staff members.

"Absa confirms that there is no mass retrenchment being undertaken within the company," spokesman Ajith Bridgraj said in a statement.

"Absa has and will continue to evolve its systems and processes which sometimes lead to very limited job losses... We will do this through natural attrition as evidenced by the reduction of 3580 roles last year with retrenchments limited to 145."

Bridgraj said Absa's official union, the Finance Union, was consulted during the process and the company followed the agreed principles and processes, which were in line with labour relations best practice and regulations.

On Wednesday, trade union Solidarity said some of Absa's employees were called into an office and told there was no room for them in the company's new structure.

"They were given a box, accompanied to their office to pack up their personal belongings and escorted outside like criminals in full view of their colleagues, some of whom were in tears, where their employee cards were taken from them," Solidarity said on its website.

Responding to this statement, Absa said while the process was not pleasant the company needed to protect its systems and sensitive information.

"Due to the sensitivity of the situation and the fact that employees had to hand in their access cards, some were escorted out of the building," the company said.

The union released a video as part of its "Stop Absa campaign", aimed at determining the scope of the current retrenchments at the bank.

"It is clear from their stories that Absa's restructuring is coinciding with retrenchments and that the bank attaches no value to years of service and outstanding performance," the union's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said.

"The reality is that the bank, which used to be known as the ‘people's bank', is now a bank which is cold and indifferent towards its employees and pursues profit at all costs."

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