Retrenchments at Standard Bank may be wider than management level, trade union Solidarity said today.
“Yesterday Standard Bank could still not say how many of its 30?000 employees would be affected by the planned retrenchments at the bank, and the bank could also not provide a guarantee that the retrenchments would be limited to management level,” Solidarity said.
However, Standard Bank had accepted the principles of Solidarity’s four-step social plan which contained guidelines and methods to avert retrenchment or to reduce retrenchment and to mitigate its impact.
According to Solidarity, Standard Bank had indicated that it was analysing all its business units in South Africa in order to identify areas where costs could be cut.
The bank would then continue to consult with Solidarity regarding retrenchments.
“It is important that Standard Bank completes its business analysis as quickly as possible and provides valid reasons for each individual affected by the planned retrenchments,” said Gideon du Plessis, deputy general secretary of Solidarity.
“It is also a cause for concern that the largest bank in Africa is now resorting to retrenchment shortly after the announcement of its favourable half-year results.”
Du Plessis said the biggest danger was that Standard Bank’s retrenchments could lead to a chain reaction in the rest of the financial sector.
“Solidarity has already appointed a task team to get involved in the consultation process.”
The team consisted of experienced negotiators who had already succeeded in averting several retrenchments at other companies.
Standard Bank, however, said that Solidarity was a minority union with a very small membership at the group.
Despite this fact, the bank had agreed to the union’s request for a meeting which took place yesterday, spokesperson Erik Larsen said.
“The only agreement that Standard Bank made during this meeting was to inform Solidarity if any of its members were affected.”?