Trade Union Solidarity launches Stop ABSA campaign #stopabsa


“Today, tomorrow, goodbye”

Trade union Solidarity today announced it would be launching a massive campaign to put a stop to the retrenchments at Absa. The Stop Absa campaign’s slogan will be “Today, tomorrow, goodbye”.

The campaign will include, among other things, thousands of protest messages to Marcus Agius, the Chairman of Barclays in England. Solidarity will use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos to garner public support for the campaign.

The campaign comes after even more Absa employees received letters regarding the restructuring last week. Several employees’ services will be terminated on 31 March 2012 and several others’ services will be terminated on 13 May 2012. The total number of employees and posts that will be affected is not known, however.

“According to our information, Absa was instructed by Barclays to cut personnel costs by 10%. It is clear to us that Barclays’ grip on Absa is getting tighter. Our focus will therefore shift to Barclays. We don’t approve of a situation where the employees of a profitable South African bank subsidise a bank in England,” said Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity.

“Absa will be losing highly skilled personnel as a result of the latest restructuring. We are concerned that this pursuit of short-term gains will jeopardise the bank’s sustainability in the long term,” he added.

“In the campaign we will specifically protest against the manner in which the retrenchments were dealt with. In a YouTube video that will be released later in the week, employees relate how they were forced to pack up their personal belongings and were escorted out of the building like criminals in front of their colleagues. A number of their co-workers started crying when they saw them being escorted out. This style of laying people off is unfamiliar in South Africa and we cannot allow a foreign company to establish a strange and unacceptable culture in South Africa,” according to Hermann.

“We call on Absa personnel and all other South Africans to participate in the campaign,” said Hermann.

The public can send letters of protest regarding the Absa retrenchments to the Chairman of Barclays via the Alternatively, they can text the word ‘Absa’ to 34388 (R2 per SMS) to support the campaign. The campaign can also be followed on Twitter at #stopabsa.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary: Solidarity, Cell: 082 461 8485

Chris du Plessis, Spokesperson: Solidarity, Cell: 084 517 6308

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