All of you have probably heard or read about the accusations leveled at ABSA for the way they are treating their staff with their current ‘restructuring’ process.
There are articles on ITWeb and elsewhere about a potential 1600 I.T. jobs alone that are being axed. Verifiable stories abound about staff members being yanked out of meetings and escorted out the front door by security staff.
ABSA of course are denying that that they are retrenching people, but this is purely to deceive SASBO and hide what is really going on.
Now, as a former ABSA employee, I always felt that the bank was a ponderous, bloated and inefficient gargant, with expenditure on corporate masturbatory rubbish entirely off the charts. And of course the account-holders footed the bill. I always felt that there was a lot of dead wood in the corporate structure, and that the bank could be much more dynamic and streamlined. So I am not opposed to heads rolling in order to streamline operations, it is a business after all. What irks me is that ABSA is firmly in the black, whereas Barclays (which has a controlling stake in ABSA), is in deep financial shit.
This ‘restucturing’ process is a Barclays initiative, called ‘Project Atomic’ (can you believe that name?). The project calls for a 24% headcount slash across all sectors of the bank. This amounts to nearly ten thousand people who are in danger of losing their jobs, to appease the bean counters in Blighty. It seems the traditional Rhodes-ian disregard for African dignity is alive and well in the UK, and it is not to rationalise and streamline operations, it is to prop up the piss-poor Barclays bottom line.
Bob Diamond, Barclays CEO, is getting a six million quid bonus, but Barclays is posting a financial loss? How does that work? Can somebody explain it to me?
And yet, ABSA is making a profit, but is being instructed to cut 24% of its workforce?
But I’m digressing a bit. ABSA top management are cloaking Project Atomic as a simple ‘restructure’, and that nobody is getting retrenched. Well, let me tell you how these slimy bastards are going about it.
First, a new structure is defined. All staff who are not on the new structure are ‘invited to re-apply’ for their jobs. In the meantime, they are placed on reassignment, and effectively don’t have jobs to do. That’s where the delightful security escort service off the premises comes in. If, and only if, after three months you do not get repositioned, a ‘separation contract’ is entered into and you are retrenched.
Not only is this illegal (you may not force an employee to reapply for his/her job), but it is immoral and unethical. While you are on reassignment, you must sit on your bum at home doing nothing, and you still get paid a salary (again, the customer foots the bill). The strategy is to make people find jobs outside the bank, or take early retirement, thereby avoiding the cost of retrenchment in those cases. Many of the affected staff have given 30+ years of service, so it must be a substantial amount of money to be saved through this frankly pathetically transparent bit of legerdemain. That aside, it creates a neat little sidestep for denying that you are retrenching people, because you can simply point to the stats that show that people are resigning, never mind the fact that you are coercing them by force into making this choice.
What is perhaps even worse than this, is Barclay’s complete disregard for our employment equity legislation. The new ABSA Retail management structure is completely dominated by white males, whereas many of the existing black management, and in particular black women, were required to undergo competency evaluations. It has become clear by looking at the new structures, that if a white person cannot be found to fill a managerial position, a Barclays import is preferred over a black candidate. The press has not gotten wind of this yet, but they are going to have a field day.
You might wonder where I am getting my info from, let me just say I have a very close and trusted source who is directly involved with this process. In due time there will be more info. My aim is to get the word out, so that an interested party in the media might champion this cause for the sake of thousands of South Africans who once again have to bear the brunt of British greed.
Mario Ramos has an ABSA blog where employees can engage in corporate matters. Any and all references to and questions about the restructuring are immediately censored or deleted. As for Maria, she can be proud of what she’s achieved. As a purely political appointment, she was perfectly poised to drag another company through her arse at the behest of wealthy puppet masters, to the detriment of all. Good job!