Friday’s banking strike blocked by court

The Labour Court in Braamfontein has ruled in favour of Business Unity SA (BUSA) after it applied for an interdict against a country-wide banking strike which was set to take place on Friday.

In a judgement handed down on Thursday, the court said that the action was unlawful – effectively preventing what would have been South Africa’s largest banking strike in 99 years.

Sasbo, the largest finance workers’ union in the country, is protesting against job losses and retrenchments in the South African banking sector as a result of digitisation and closing of bank branches.

Sasbo secretary-general Joe Kokela said the union is opposed to any job losses at banks and other financial institutions.

He added that they will make sure that ATMs do not operate and that Internet banking is down on Friday, and warned people to withdraw enough money before Friday’s strike.

Preventing the strike

BUSA, however, fought against the national banking strike through an interdict against the protest action.

BUSA filed the court application to interdict the strike on behalf of South Africa’s commercial banks on Wednesday.

Kaizer Moyane, Nedlac convener for BUSA, argued that Sasbo did not follow the right procedures for the strike.

“It’s not a strike, it’s protest action. Our argument is that they have not followed the procedure as prescribed in Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act,” Moyane told Radio 702.

“If they want to continue protesting, we believe they should follow the procedure,” he said.

Court ruling

In the ruling, the Labour Court found that Cosatu and Sasbo failed to comply with the provisions of s77(1) of the Labour Relations Act.

“Any person who takes part in the intended protest action does not enjoy the protections afforded by s67 of the LRA,” the court said.

“Cosatu and Sasbo are hereby interdicted and restrained from preceding with, encouraging or enticing employees to engage in the intended protest action, unless or until such time they have complied with s77 of the LRA.”

Now read: South African banking strike threatens to shut down ATMs and Internet banking

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Friday’s banking strike blocked by court