South Africa: Bank Strike - FNB Says Clients Should Use App and Online Banking

A customer enters a Standard Bank branch (file photo).
23 September 2019

Ahead of a strike in the banking sector on Friday, FNB said it has taken contingency measures to try to ensure its services are uninterrupted during the protest.

"We encourage customers to access our services through the FNB app, ATMs, automated deposit terminals, online and cellphone banking," Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, said.

However, the banking union Sasbo told Fin24 that its members will shut down systems in the banking industry, which will affect ATMs - along with all card transactions.

"Make sure you have enough money (cash) on Thursday," Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela told Fin24. "No one will be able to transact, unfortunately."

FNB confirmed it received a notice for protest action by Sasbo on Friday. As many as 50 000 workers in the banking sector will be striking and protesting against retrenchments on Friday.

Sasbo says it represents about 70% of workers in the banking sector, about 73 000 people. Kokela said by Friday, September 20, between 45 000 and 50 000 workers had committed to protest against retrenchments caused by branch closures in recent months.

Earlier this year Standard Bank closed 91 branches, with as many as 1 200 jobs affected, Fin24 previously reported. Absa also warned that hundreds of its jobs may be at risk as part of a restructuring initiative.

The industrial action is protected under section 77 of the Labour Relations Act because it is related to a socio-economic matter, and Sasbo received a certificate from the National Economic Development and Labour Council to go ahead, said Kokela.

On Monday morning, the South African Revenue Service warned that the strike may impact tax payment and refund transactions, and encouraged taxpayers to conduct any transactions with SARS at least two business days in advance.

"FNB will continue to support industry efforts to find amicable solutions to the concerns raised by the union," Van Zyl said. But Kokela told Fin24 that the strike won't be called off. "As Sasbo we are adamant there is nothing they (banks) can do," he added. "We no longer trust what banks are saying and doing to our members."

The protest, which will kick off at 10:00 on Friday, will be nationwide, with marches taking place in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Durban.

Source: Fin24

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