Approximately 3, 000 employees are expected to lose their jobs due to increasing use of humanoid robots at South Africa-based Nedbank.
The lender last week announced that it has so far installed 59 humanoid robots, Pepper. The firm has plans to deploy 200 robots by the end of this year.
The bank has set aside R2bn on technology upgrade.
However, the workers union, South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) criticised Nedbank for its job cut plans and warned of “serious action” as the union had concerns over the future of the employees.
Allying the fear of workers union, the bank stated that the job cuts will be negated through the bank’s expected growth.
Nedbank chief information officer Swanepoel said: “When we look at the expected implementations and the natural attrition we are going to suffer, we think that there is more than adequate room for us not to have any mass retrenchments on account of robotics.
“We are looking to have some of that displacement offset in the growth we will receive. With about 32,000 staff, our natural attrition rate is about 3 000 per year. When we look at a three-year period, we don’t think that robotics will take up more than one year of that natural attrition.”
Sasbo represents about 70,000 members in the financial services sector. It stated that while it was aware of the technological changes, huge job cuts at just one bank may lead to resentment.
Each robot is priced between R400 000 and R500 000.