Lay-off con­sul­ta­tion con­cluded

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - – Siphelele Dludla

AFRICAN Bank said on Fri­day that it has con­cluded a sec­tion 189A con­sul­ta­tion process to lay off about a sixth of its nearly 4 100 staff com­ple­ment through the set­tle­ment of vol­un­tary sev­er­ance and re­tire­ment pack­ages. Ear­lier this year, African Bank pro­posed cut­ting 650 jobs fol­low­ing a de­cline in loan vol­umes, in a bid to reach a sus­tain­able cost base needed for its long-term strat­egy, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing to re­tail bank­ing. But the bank last month de­cided to dis­con­tinue the Sec­tion 189A con­sul­ta­tion process be­cause of the re­sponse it had re­ceived to its of­fer of vol­un­tary sev­er­ance and re­tire­ment pack­ages, which were enough to stave off planned re­trench­ments. The me­di­a­tion con­sul­ta­tion en­tailed of­fer­ing vol­un­tary sev­er­ance and re­tire­ment pack­ages to staff. The bank then reached the agree­ment with the South African So­ci­ety of Bank Of­fi­cials, the union that is rep­re­sent­ing work­ers who were to be re­trenched, to have work­ers take vol­un­tary sev­er­ance and re­tire­ment pack­ages. Since the com­mence­ment of the Sec­tion 189A process in April 2017, the bank’s staff com­ple­ment has been re­duced by 636 full­time em­ploy­ees. This was as a re­sult of 515 ap­pli­ca­tions ap­proved un­der the vol­un­tary agree­ments of­fer and nor­mal staff turnover giv­ing rise to a fur­ther re­duc­tion of 121 staffers over the same four-month pe­riod. African Bank chief ex­ec­u­tive, Brian Ri­ley, said it had been a dif­fi­cult few months within the bank and they were re­lieved to have com­pleted this con­sul­ta­tion through a vol­un­tary process. “The bank ex­pects to save ap­prox­i­mately R50 mil­lion per an­num as a re­sult of the vol­un­tary agree­ments. A once-off cost of ap­prox­i­mately R60m to set­tle the vol­un­tary pack­ages will be in­curred and ex­pensed in the an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments for the year ended Septem­ber 30, 2017,” Ri­ley said. The bank re­mains con­fi­dent that the strat­egy, as ar­tic­u­lated pre­vi­ously, re­mains rel­e­vant, achiev­able and con­tin­ues to gain trac­tion.

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