Labour court to rule this morning whether bank strike can go ahead

The labour court will on Thursday rule on whether the banking union Sasbo can go ahead with what could be the biggest banking strike in 99 years.

Sasbo plans to hold nationwide protest action on Friday September 27. It says as many as 50 000 workers have indicated that they will take part in protest marches and picketing against recent retrenchments in the banking sector. A second strike led by Cosatu is planned for October 7.

Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela has warned that the strike would result in a complete shutdown of systems, including ATMs.

But Business Unity South Africa has filed an urgent court application to interdict the strike.

The matter was heard on Wednesday, judgment was reserved and will be given on Thursday at 10:00, Kaizer Moyane, BUSA's Nedlac convener confirmed to Fin24 by phone.

Kokela previously told Fin24 that the interdict being sought is just part of the "tricks" by banks to discourage workers from participating in the strike. The union is steadfast in its plans to go ahead with the strike, which will involve protest marches in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

Banks prepare

In separate statements, Nedbank, FNB and Absa have encouraged customers to use online services on Friday.

Nedbank expects its ATMs and digital banking platforms to be fully operational. ABSA has said some of its branches and ATMs may be affected, but assured it is deploying business continuity and contingency plans.

FNB has contingency measures in place to ensure its services are not interrupted on the day, Lee-Anne van Zyl, FNB Points of Presence CEO said. FNB has encouraged its customers to access services via the app, ATMs, online and cellphone banking.

FNB also said "customer facing employees" play a vital role in its services. The bank plans to open seven additional branches before the end of the financial year.

This contrasts with Standard Bank, which earlier this year closed 91 branches in order to align its services with a digital strategy. Absa also warned that hundreds of its jobs may be at risk as part of a restructuring initiative, Fin24 previously reported.

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