Apart from the ongoing struggle to meet the monthly salary bill, Denel now has to face a court battle from trade union Solidarity over what is alleged to be a “failure to pay salaries in full”.
The Centurion headquartered trade union approached the Labour Court over what is sees as non-compliance with conditions of employment at the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate.
“Solidarity will meet Denel in the Labour Court on 30 June over Denel’s failure to pay salaries in full. This follows Solidarity approaching the court on 19 June to decide on the matter,” a statement said.
“May salaries were paid in part with some staff receiving as little as 20% of their salaries. Denel indicated salaries for June and July were also in jeopardy and suggested employees should sacrifice part of salaries from June to August.
“Denel also failed to meet statutory obligations by not paying income tax and other deductions to third parties since April,” the Solidarity statement said.
It quotes Solidarity aviation and defence sector co-ordinator Helgard Cronje as saying: “It is ridiculous to think a company will impoverish employees by not meeting its financial obligations to them. It is even more outrageous to expect employees to further impoverish themselves to help the employer and in particular the State as shareholder by sacrificing salaries”.
The current National State of Disaster lockdown is not only to blame for the financial quandary Denel is in.
“The State has an undeniable share in this situation, having appointed corrupt board members previously and allowing state capture and corruption under its nose.
“Now, honest employees have to pay for the State’s incompetence and receive partial or zero salaries. There is also an expectation Denel personnel will sacrifice salaries totally for a few months,” he said.
In court documents, Solidarity demands Denel 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 court again.
“The State can avoid a second SAA and Eskom, but the reluctance to wholly support turnaround plans by providing funding is slowly but surely sending Denel on the same road as other State-owned enterprises. The State must accept responsibility for its mistakes and not shift blame to employees,” Cronje said.