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Absa Reverses Decision on 140 Job Cuts, Labor Union Says

Absa Group Ltd., the South African bank controlled by Barclays Plc, reversed its decision to cut 140 technology jobs by June, labor union Solidarity said.

“Absa’s announcement that the notices will be withdrawn is a big step in the right direction,” Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Pretoria-based Solidarity, said in an e-mailed statement today. “The withdrawal of the retrenchment notices amounts to a tactical victory, but the final battle has not been won yet.”

Absa said in March a reorganization to improve efficiency may cause job losses. Barclays, Britain’s second-largest bank by assets, is seeking to reduce costs after net income fell 16 percent in 2011. Absa, which is integrating its technology with the U.K. lender, said in February its full-year profit rose 19 percent to 9.67 billion rand ($1.18 billion) and reported a cost-to-income ratio of 55.5 percent, the second-lowest of South Africa’s four largest banks.

Solidarity represents about 350 of Absa’s estimated 30,000 employees. Sasbo, a separate union, has about 20,000 members at the lender.

“Absa confirms it has temporarily withdrawn notices of retrenchment to some impacted employees in its IT business unit,” the bank said in an e-mailed statement.

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