The right to strike is enshrined in our Constitution and is fiercely protected by trade unions. However, the right to strike is limited in certain circumstances and specific procedures need to be followed. Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act regulates the procedure that needs to be followed in socio-economic protest action through a process of consultation at Nedlac between Labour, Business and Government.
“In the banking sector strike,” says Jonathan Goldberg who is the CEO of Global Business Solutions which is a national human capital, labour law and business consulting firm, “the issue related to a socio-economic issues which are governed by a process of consultation at Nedlac. This procedure was not followed and therefore the socio-economic protest action would not be protected.”
The strike was planned in response to the mass banking retrenchments earlier this year. This was due to a more digital banking approach and a decreased need for offline banks. “The move towards digitalisation,” concludes Goldberg, “is not a phenomenon that is restricted to the banking sector. It’s a global move that is happening across all industries. This doesn’t mean that the people who’re being retrenched are suddenly unemployable. As employers, we now need to put our thinking caps on and see how we can use these people’s skills in other aspects of our business.”