Bidvest Bank has announced its contemplating retrenchments to re-align operations as a response to challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. The bank says lockdown restrictions on tourism and hospitality industries had a devastating effect on its business, which focuses on forex and related products. In an internal memo to employees, the bank says retrenchments are aimed at ensuring its sustainability in a tough economic climate.
Bidvest Bank has confirmed that it issued a Section 189 letter to affected staff last Friday. The bank also says it has experienced reduced demand for certain products and services.
It adds that COVID-19 has now brought about a need to accelerate the use of digitalisation and implement remote banking. The bank says reasons for the redundancy have already been communicated to staff and further discussions on the issue will be addressed during the CCMA facilitation process. Chairman of the Bidvest Group Bonang Mohale says the company is also amongst other companies severely impacted by COVID-19
“As a direct result of the pandemic, the Bidvest Group like most companies is reviewing its operations across the Group to ensure not just our short term survival but long-term sustainability. Our first thought is always with the employees during this difficult time. This is but one part of the downsizing of our entire business. The bank has been repositioned to virtual banking and this has been approved by both the Bidvest Group Excco and Bank board of directors.”
The bank also says there are approximately 1037 permanent employees, of this number, approximately 651 employees will be affected in the Personal Banking, Business Banking, and Support divisions.
Taking into account the nature of the organisational changes the bank currently anticipates approximately 400 employees that may be retrenched. But banking union SASBO estimates that more jobs could be lost across the board. The union’s General Secretary Joe Kokela says they are failing to understand as a union what the business rationale is.
“One thing we are failing to understand as a union is what is the business rationale for Bidvest to lay off 420 especially at this point in time, we were thinking there is reasonable basis they should have waited three-four months to see what direction the country would have taken and then we can start talking about the restructuring, so the way it is we don’t believe it is fair and is correct in what they are doing.”
The bank says it will also review its current operational structures to ensure efficiency. The consultation process will start from September and October 2020.
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)