SAFTU statement on the Standard Bank decision to curl 1200 jobs
15 March 2019
SAFTU is vindicated that workers cannot guarantee the future of themselves and their families in a capitalist arrangement that continues to devour jobs, create mass poverty and even deeper levels of inequalities here and in the world at large.
Hot after the announcement of ABSA to slaughter 800 jobs, Standard Bank unashamedly announced that they will curl 1200 in what is a race to the bottom. The fact that Standard Bank sees the digitizing of their branches to be inline with 4th Industrial Revolution is communicating a message to workers that Industrial Revolution is a threat not a programme to up-skill and empower workers .
The news of job cuts in the financial sectors comes in the wake of an intensified job loss bloodbath whose epic center is in the manufacturing sector. This is the biggest disappointment in that we had hoped the manufacturing sector will be the face of the decent jobs agenda post 1994.
Announcements of job losses is happening with such frequency that many South Africans have lost count of the jobs that are being lost or threatened by the various private sector companies, the government itself and the state owned enterprises.
This job loss bloodbath will intensify post the elections and SAFTU believes that the threats to the job security of workers will be carried out immediately after the 8th May 2019 general elections.
Various mining companies are also involved in their own race to the bottom. Recently Impala/Sibanye announced that they will throw 13 400 workers to the long queue already populated by 10 million unemployed South Africans.
On the other hand, government Ministers are on record that there is a need to cut up to a third of Eskom jobs. In addition to this a further 90 000 jobs will be lost as a result of the privatisation of energy through the introduction of the IPPS. The government has also announced that it tends to curl 30 000 jobs in the public service which it has already embarked upon through natural attrition. Only this week SABC told the country that unless government can provide it with a lifeboat, it would not be able to pay its workers at the end of the month. This not only threatens the thousands of jobs but many more jobs in the Arts and Culture industry.
SAFTU is aware that very state owned enterprise will announce job cuts post elections. Workers are paying with the jobs for the total chaos embedded in all SOEs by the ANC and through its political leaders and deployees.
We reiterate that even President Ramaphosa was to succeed to creates the 275 000 he promised in his SONA, this will be below the 2% annual growth in the size of the labour market, which means over 400 000 new job seekers every year. In the context of the current job loss blood bath, we are convinced that the promised 275 000 will not materialise now or any time soon.
With unemployment already at staggering 37.0%, the sixth highest in the world and for black people over 40%, the country must brace itself for even greater levels of a total catastrophe. Already we have the worse youth unemployment rate in the world.
This explains why there is a rise in the number of young people who are seeking escape from this dire situation by turning to drug, alcohol abuse and crime. This leads to poor, working-class communities becoming battlegrounds for armed confrontations between rival gangs controlled by drug dealers.
SAFTU calls on workers to continue mobilising for a total shut down of the economy on a date to be announced. It was for this reason of job bloodbath that we took a decision to take action and we have no other choice to revisit and set another date of action by all working class formations.
Issued by Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, South African Federation of Trade Unions, 15 March 2019