Labour Court stops planned bank strike in its tracks, rules it’s unprotected

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The Labour Court has declared that the bank strike planned for Friday is unprotected under the law.

The court made the ruling on Thursday morning after certifying an application by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) as urgent.

Acting for the banks, BUSA had argued that Cosatu and South African Society of Banking Officials’ (SASBO) strike notice did not legally protect their strike action.

For their part, Cosatu and SASBO argued that their planned strike relied on a notice that was issued two years ago and approved by Nedlac.

Both parties made their submissions to the court at a hearing on Wednesday.

Interdicted

Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker agreed with BUSA and interdicted the trade unions from proceeding with the strike.

It is declared that Cosatu and SASBO have failed to comply with the provisions of section 77(1) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) 66 of 1995.

Any person that takes part in the intended protest action does not enjoy the protections afforded by section 67 of the LRA.

Cosatu and SASBO are hereby interdicted and restrained from proceeding with, encouraging or enticing employees to engage in the intended protest action.

Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker

The judge said the interdict will remain in place until such a time when Cosatu and SASBO have complied with LRA’s provisions.

The two unions have not yet reacted to the interdict.

SASBO’s demands

SASBO had called the strike to oppose planned retrenchments in the banking sector.

It is pushing for a moratorium on job losses and has denounced digitalisation of banking systems.

It especially cited Standard Bank’s recent closure of over 90 branches as a major cause for concern. 1,200 employees lost their jobs as a result.

The union is demanding “up-skilling and re-skilling” of workers who may be affected by technological advances.

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