Solidarity will meet Denel in the Labour Court on 30 June over Denel’s failure to pay its employees’ salaries in full. This comes after Solidarity approached the court on 19 June to decide on the matter.
Employees’ salaries for May were only paid in part with some members of staff receiving only as little as 20% of their salaries. Denel indicated that salaries for June and July were also in jeopardy and suggested that employees should sacrifice their salaries in part from June to August.
Denel has also failed to meet its statutory obligations in respect of its employees by not paying income tax and other deductions to third parties since April.
“It is ridiculous to think that a company would impoverish its employees through its failure to meet the financial obligations it has in respect of employees,” Helgard Cronjé, Solidarity’s sector coordinator for defence and aviation. “It is even more outrageous to expect these employees to impoverish themselves to help the employer, and in particular the state as shareholder, by sacrificing their salaries at the expense of themselves and their families.”
The lockdown that has been in place since the end of March, is not solely to be blamed for the current financial quandary Denel finds itself in. “The state has an undeniable share in this by having appointed corrupt board members in the past and by having allowed state capture and corruption to take place right under its nose. Now, honest employees must pay the price for the state’s incompetence by receiving only partial or no salaries at all and there is even an expectation that they would sacrifice their salaries altogether for a few months,” Cronjé contended.
According to Denel’s management, the state supports the turnaround plan drawn up to save itself from this predicament, but like the sinking ship of the SAA, the state apparently is not interested in providing the required financial assistance to help Denel out of its financial quandary.
In the court documents drawn up against Denel, Solidarity demands that Denel should pay all outstanding salaries and payments to third parties, as stipulated in legislation and employment contracts, by no later than 3 July.
“The state’s inability to steer this ship left us with no choice but to approach the court again. The state has a chance to avoid a second SAA and Eskom, but their reluctance to really support the turnaround plans by providing the necessary funding is slowly but surely sending Denel on the same path as other state-owned enterprises. The state must accept responsibility for its mistakes and not shift it onto employees. Solidarity will continue to take a stand against employers like Denel and the state who abuse and exploit Solidarity’s members,” Cronjé concluded.
Photo credit: @DenelSOC/Twitter