SARS warns Friday's banking strike may cause disruption


The SA Revenue Service has warned that a strike in the banking sector, planned for Friday 27 September, may cause disruption.

The Cosatu-affiliated South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo), the biggest union in the financial sector, is calling for a moratorium on job losses in the banking sector. Apart from a strike, its members plan protest action and a march to the banks' head offices around Johannesburg. It previously warned that ATMs may not be functional, and that the strike will continue on Saturday.

In a statement, SARS warned that the “anticipated protest action” may impact tax payment and refund transactions. Sars said that the banks have informed it of a possible strike. It encouraged taxpayers to submit their payments two business days in advance because of the planned strike.

“We remain concerned about the high levels of unemployment (29%), the state of our economy, the current and future impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the direct and indirect societal implications, amongst others, we cannot afford for even one job to be lost,” Sasbo said in a statement about the planned strike to its more than 70 000 members.

“As a member of Sasbo, and through Sasbo’s affiliation, a member of Cosatu, your participation in this protest action is legally protected. This means that you cannot be disciplined for participating in this legally protected protest action,” it told its members.

Sasbo has been trying to resolve the problem without resorting to industrial action, but even after a facilitator was appointed by the CCMA no solution could be reached, it said in a recent newsletter.

“As the most experienced human resources hands in the finance sector us, at Sasbo, understand the pressure that the bank is under. The nature of work in the South African finance industry is being rapidly and radically changed by artificial intelligence - by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For all our sakes there is no point in a bank subsidising a blatantly bankrupt branch.

"But, when the cold winds struck too quickly, too unthinkingly and too selfishly, the banks rushed to wield the knife."

Sasbo singled out Standard Bank, who recently closed more than 90 branches, which affected 1,200 employees. 

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