South African bank workers to strike against digitalisation of their jobs

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September 25, 2019
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2 min read

Update: Hayley Crane, Senior Manager at Standard Bank Group in a response to Techpoint's inquiry affirmed that the bank is aware of the planned protest and has effective contingency plans in place, as customers will be kept informed in case of any change or impact to their banking activities.
"Customers are encouraged to use any of Standard Bank’s multiple digital banking channels, including the Banking App, Internet Banking, USSD and ATMs."


In an organised attempt to protest job losses resulting from the use of technology by banks in South Africa, the country’s largest union, SASBO – The Finance Union (formerly the South African Society of Bank Officials) will be holding a nation-wide strike on Friday the 27th.

The decision to organise the nation-wide strike was reached following the retrenchment of bank staff in major South African banks, which was necessitated by banks encouraging customers to utilise mobile apps and Internet banking rather than visit brick and mortar branches.

Several banks will be on the receiving end of the strike, including Standard Bank which recently shut down 91 bank branches.

The union threatened to ensure that ATMs and Internet banking processes do not work while the strike is ongoing.

SASBO General Secretary and Spokesperson, Joe Kokela pointed out that they were not just fighting for the retrenched workers, but for the poor who don’t have access to the internet.

Digitalisation in South Africa’s banking sector, resulting in the retrenchment of thousands of bank staff, will affect the country’s already high unemployment rate.

In an age when critics propose that deep technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics will take over 40% of jobs around the world within fifteen years, it is important to consider the impact of mobile technology and fintech on jobs today to prepare ourselves for an inevitable future.

Image source - CNBC

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