NATIONAL NEWS - Although many customers had braced themselves for a quiet day at the banks and ATMs, a leading economist believes that the planned strike by the industry wouldn’t have had impacted negatively on the country’s economy.
Chief economist at Economist.co.za Mike Schussler said the calling off of the strike would be a relief to some, but the action wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the economy due to the technology used in modern banking.
“Many of us do not go to the bank’s branch every day. I don’t think it would have had a serious impact.
“A one-day strike wouldn’t be a problem anyway,” Schussler said.
Many bank customers had braced themselves for what was expected to be the biggest banking strike for decades.
Some clients had begun to do early transactions in anticipation of a slowdown caused by the action.
It was feared that the industrial action would adversely affect the country’s economy and the banks themselves would lose billions of rands.
Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said all the necessary processes were followed and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) issued a certificate to strike.
He said Nedlac was cited as a third responded in the application to declare the strike unlawful and its failure to defend its decision is telling.
“We respect Nedlac and we hope that they get their house in order because the integrity and reputation of Nedlac are important. If Nedlac continues to fail the workers, we will see a proliferation of unsanctioned strikes,” Pamla said.
The South African Society of Bank Officials said it was fundamentally opposed to job losses or retrenchments.
“We remain concerned about the high levels of unemployment [29%], the state of our economy, the current and future impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the direct and indirect societal implications, amongst others.
“We cannot afford for even one job to be lost,” the union said in an earlier statement.