Amalgamated Bull Shit Artists

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!

Interesting what corporates will get up to in order to slip through whichever loopholes of law and decency that they can subvert. I think one can sympathise with this guy’s sentiments.


Well, it’s a shame his other comments paint him as conservitard. I understand banker-bashing is a new trend in the UK. One of them lost his knighthood. Good job, now Sir Arsehole is merely mista Arsehole.

It’s times likes this I wish I was a high-powered lawyer with a year’s worth of bro bono time to offer up. I’d file a legendary class-action suit.

Seems I got out just in time. The missus and I were speculating whether poor old ‘Steve from f#*#*ng Bank’ is an oblique reference to Steve Booysen, former Absa head honcho. In my opinion it’s unlikely, as ABSA started going downhill the day Ramos got appointed, and the other banks are well aware of what goes on in the marble-floored ABSA corridors.

I work for them. I can tell you stories that will make your hair stand on end…

I too, am in the firing line, I’m awaiting my letter… 10 minutes later… just got my letter.

At least I’m not being escorted off the property! ;D

having been retrenched 3 times myself, i feel the pain. and there isnt an employer on EARTH that goes about it fairly. always epic bulshittery going down.

I went through this sort of process more than 15 years ago, and it was a disaster.

I worked for an IT giant (still do) and we were handed letters with the wonderfully informative title:- “NOTIFICATION OF INTENTION TO CONSULT”

Nobody knew what this meant, so a meeting was called, with a big-wig from head office flying down, and the upshot was that we were all expected to re-apply for a position within the new company structure, “effectively as of now none of you have a job”.

The result, which was probably the real intention in the first place, was that there was a general exodus of everyone who could easily find alternative employment. The problem was that this group inevitably had a very large overlap with what could be termed the group of the best qualified and dynamic people.

A senior manager let it slip later on, when asked about retrenchments he beamed at us and proudly stated “attrition is the way forward”, not seeming to realise how this would be percieved. Lots of money can be saved by making people so negative that even if they want to stay they feel forced to resign as any opportunity arises rather than wait for retrenchment and then be forced to look around when there is no assurance a further opportunity will arise.

This led to a further slide, with a dismal outlook and no morale there was a 60% staff turnover in a single year with hardly any retrenchments, and still today every time there is wind of a management announcement, the phrase “Notification of intention to consult” can be heard doing the rumour rounds. Nobody ever trusts a company that pulls that one, and with good reason.

As for myself, I made a critical error. I was still fairly junior, but in a key position. I was offered a way out and approached a manager I trusted with my situation. He talked to senior management and got me a significant increase in the form of a counter-offer, which I was dumb enough to accept.

I stayed, and regretted it, as what my salary jump actually did, was prevent future increases and opportunities, as resentful management acted out petty grievances

A big salary is a double edged sword. You wish for it when you’re younger, but when you get it you realise it comes with handcuffs. Suddenly you can’t find another job so easily, your raises aren’t as nice any more because suddenly they look horrible on the books, mostly because they are. “Does this guy really need a big bonus?” (see comments about bonuses paid to top execs). And, at least for me, promotion becomes nigh impossible without doing a boomerang (Quit, go work for other company in higher position, come back at new level). I’ve had to do this once already to be “promoted”, I may have to use it again someday.

The honeymoon is over and I’m no longer as flexible as I’d like to be.

Very true, I pretty much feel the same way about my job, and the resultant resignation to eating (and liking) all the shit that comes with it.

Well, I’m in the lucky position that I have thus far failed at everything I tried to do, thus while I am poor as a church mouse, I am also blessedly handcuff-free. :slight_smile:

The real handcuffs come with marriage and kids, when your monthly expenses rise uncontrollably to match or exceed your income. Suddenly you have no room to manoeuvre, cannot take a loss, and cannot justify taking any risks that don’t seem like your own to take.

10 years of sub-inflation increases and 2 kids will make what was a good salary at the time an absolute crippler.

Yup. Lucky for me I also don’t have a wife or kids. :slight_smile:

Having a good woman by your side is worth every cent.

I concur.

To each his own. :slight_smile:

This move from Absa was to be expected…was it not?
I am rather suprised that it’s only happening now. Given that the fact that it’s allready done with abroad.
Its just ye olde cycle. Banks grow, finance markets flourish, banks become bold, markets crash…employees commit mass suicide ^ ^

Not at this magnatude. 25% of the local workforce?

having a good anybody that will help you carry the load by earning a salary, understanding what a budget is, and how to keep to it.
living on my own is awesome. financially a bastard sometimes. but if i am forced to eat popcorn coz there is no money for luxuries, i only have myself to answer to. ok, and 5 cats and two dogs. but they are easily wooed by bones and catnip.
having financial shit is hard enough. having to deal with someone else who is not coming to the party, or not understanding, or wanting to still live big, is so much harder.
any man (or woman) that wants to be the sole breadwinner, with the partner in the kitchen, is a selfish prig, setting their family up for financial ruin if the pooh hits the fan.

A few days ago eNews featured a banner headline about ABSA emphatically denying rumours of forced retrenchments or using underhanded tactics. The bulletin didn’t elaborate on the story. Does anyone know the specifics?


Of course they’re denying it.

My source further informs me that Maria Ramos is getting a R14,700,000 bonus this year.

I heard that on Cape Talk yesterday and that she graciously conceded to take it over a period of time rather than a lump sum :smiley: