The Solidarity trade union has announced that its members who are employees of State-owned defence industrial group Denel will stage a protest march at the group’s head office in Irene, Centurion, south of Pretoria, on Wednesday at noon. The protest is to express their dissatisfaction over lack of payment of their salaries.
“It has been six months now that Denel has not paid salaries properly or has not met its statutory obligations,” highlighted Solidarity defence and aviation sector coordinator Helgard Cronjé. “Loyal employees have now come under tremendous financial pressure while head office staff still receive their full pay. Meanwhile, blameless employees are losing their homes and cars while those who have been mainly responsible for the mess are not affected at all.”
The group has not paid its employees their full salaries, nor its other statutory payments, since May. On August 4 the Labour Court had ordered Denel to pay its staff their salaries and make other statutory payments on their behalf. On August 28, Solidarity again took Denel to court, and gained a contempt of court ruling against the group, with a deadline of December 3 (Thursday).
“We are not satisfied with the way in which the State is dealing with the situation,” he affirmed. “The State is largely responsible for the years of mismanagement that caused this predicament. Yet, it does not want to take responsibility for its actions or accept the responsibility it has towards blameless employees who are now the victims. Our members work hard and deserve what is due to them.”
The union is preparing to have the group’s assets seized. Solidarity and Denel will again meet in court on Thursday, as the union brings its contempt of court case against the company.
“It is Denel’s responsibility to comply with the court’s order, yet it did not make any payment and is therefore in contempt of the court order,” he stated. “We thus have no choice but to take action and will not hesitate to have assets seized. Our court proceedings will therefore continue. Where the State has its fingers in the pie politics always comes first at the expense of the employees. We will not have any of it, nor will Denel’s employees. For that reason, we will, together with our members, express our dissatisfaction by this protest action at Denel [Wednesday] prior to the court proceedings on Thursday.”