Denel settles outstanding salary and employee benefits with trade unions

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Protracted legal proceedings resulting in asset attachment and auction are seemingly over with Solidarity indicating via a statement issued on Sunday (31 July) a “settlement” has been reached with Denel and “hundreds of millions” will now be paid to Denel employees.

Helgard Cronjé, deputy general secretary of the Centurion headquartered trade union and the first to take up cudgels on behalf of Denel personnel going short and unpaid more than two years ago, said in the Sunday statement the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate, paid overdue salaries of “approximately R300 million” to employees.

“Agreement was also reached with Solidarity on the R90 million owed to Solidarity members who are Denel employees.”

The settlement, the statement has it, follows a court order authorising seizure of Denel assets and bank accounts. “Solidarity was set to proceed on 3 August,” Cronjé said adding warrants of execution will be withdrawn and there will be no further seizure of assets.

The multi-million Rand payment is, according to Solidarity, “funded by surpluses from a post-retirement medical provision fund” and will not affect medical benefits for members. “There should also be sufficient funds to pay salaries and certain operating costs until the end of the year.”

Welcoming the settlement, Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann said: “It will bring much-needed relief to thousands of people”.

He pointedly added: “its sad there had to be so much suffering before Denel employees received salaries due to them”.

With the outstanding salaries and employee benefits issue seemingly settled, Solidarity will now focus on bringing those responsible for dragging Denel into near bankruptcy to book.

“Solidarity will continue pursuing its campaign to prosecute the looters. Discussions with advocate Gerrie Nel of AfriForum’s private prosecutions unit about the possibility of this option have already taken place,” according to Hermann.