South Africa’s banking strike, planned for Friday, is postponed after the Braamfontein Labour Court decided Thursday that the national finance-worker walkout was illegal.
The South African Society of Bank Officials (SASBO), the union planning the strike to protest job losses, expected five marches in Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. “We will make sure that ATMs don’t operate. We will make sure that internet banking service is not working,” said union president Joe Kokela, who expected 40,000 finance workers to participate.
Instead, the court said that SASBO and the broader Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) were forbidden from proceeding.
“We totally disagree with the court’s decision but we respect our judicial system so we will abide by the decision while launching an urgent appeal against this ruling,” said COSATU in its statement.
“The battle has only been postponed and not cancelled,” they added.
The court ruling represented a victory for the Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) organization, which filed the legal motion to block the strike.
BUSA argued that COSATU and SASBO failed to meet the timeline for giving notice to South Africa’s National Economic Development Labour Council, thereby making the strike ineligible as a protected labor action.
Judge Hillary Rapkin-Naicker subsequently ruled that the strike was illegal unless and until the unions filed timely notice, which COSATU planned to do immediately.
Image: SA Labour Courts