The trade union UASA announced on Friday that it was going to take financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel to the Labour Court over the non-payment of employee salaries. This followed “months” of talks with Denel “failing to find a solution to the issue” said the union in its statement.
UASA would submit an urgent application to the court on August 4. The union would be seeking a compliance order to require Denel to fulfil its contractual obligations to its workers.
“It became clear during our engagements that there are fundamental differences between the management of Denel and the chairperson of the board, Ms Monhla Hlahla,” reported UASA. “During a meeting on the 9th of July 2020, Ms Hlahla denied having any knowledge of the short payment of salaries and distanced herself from the proceedings. She also indicated that the corporate plan presented to her by Denel management, which contained proposals for the survival of the [State-owned enterprise], was not presented to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, as she did not trust the proposal.”
The union also stated that it was puzzled why the government had allowed a company so important to the country’s security “to fall into such disarray”. It also asserted that its members, who had always been loyal employees of the group, were being made to carry the weight of bad decisions by management, with the result that the workers were in dire financial straits and unable to meet their obligations to their families and creditors.
The Solidarity trade union had previously announced its intention to take Denel to the Labour Court over the same issue.