South African banking strike postponed – not cancelled: Cosatu

Trade union federation Cosatu and its affiliated financial services union Sasbo say that the Labour Court ruling blocking its planned strike action for Friday, 27 September, has only suspended its protest plans, not cancelled them.

In a briefing following the court ruling – in which the Labour Court ruled in favour of Business Unity South Africa, interdicting the planned strike – Cosatu said that it will reapply for permission to strike and that it would be happening sooner rather than later.

“By the 7th of October we will be going out – we are not going to demobilise,” Cosatu said.

“We are saying to our members, we do not expect you to be out there tomorrow on the streets, but let’s continue to mobilise and continue to fight against the scourge of retrenchments.”

The union also indicated that they would immediately appeal the Labour Court’s ruling.

The Labour Court found that Sasbo and Cosatu had not met the conditions for a protected strike in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and that any strike action taking place on Friday would be unprotected.

The judge’s exact reasoning behind the ruling is still to come, as the case was handled on an urgent basis.

However, Busa’s argument against the strike is that it was moving ahead on a notice sent by Cosotu to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in 2017, which was now out of date.

The strike, which is still on the cards in the coming weeks, is expected to be the biggest protest action in the financial sector in 99 years and is being held against a move by local banks to downscale operations and retrench workers in the country.

Sasbo previously indicated that between 30,000 to 40,000 members across the financial industry are to be involved in the strike action

With additional support from Cosatu, the numbers could swell to as many as 50,000 workers.

Five major marches were planned throughout the country in Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Read: Labour court blocks South African banking strike

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South African banking strike postponed – not cancelled: Cosatu