Employee unhappiness at Denel escalates to a protest march


The dissatisfaction level personnel experience with management of financially troubled Denel will today (Wednesday) literally spill into the streets when a protest march takes place outside the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate’s Irene, Centurion, corporate office.

The march on Nellmapius Drive is organised by Centurion-headquartered trade union Solidarity, which has waged an ongoing battle to ensure its Denel members are paid regularly at month-end and in full as well as having pension, medical aid and other company contributions made as per employment contracts.

“It’s been six months that Denel has not paid salaries in full or met its statutory obligations,” Helgard Cronjé, Solidarity sector co-ordinator for defence and aviation said.

“Loyal employees are under tremendous financial pressure while head office staff receive full pay. Blameless employees are losing homes and vehicles while those mainly responsible for the mess are not affected at all.”

As far back as 4 August the Labour Court ordered Denel to meet outstanding financial obligations to employees after Solidarity approached it. Denel has failed to pay salaries in full and meet its statutory obligations since May. Another order as regards a contempt of court charge with a deadline of 3 December was given against Denel on 28 August after Denel failed to act in terms of the 4 August ruling.

“We are not satisfied with the way the state is dealing with the situation. 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 to employees who are now the victims. Our members work hard and deserve what is due to them,” Cronjé said.

Solidarity is preparing to have Denel assets seized and will meet the State-owned entity (SOE) again in court on Thursday (3 December) when its contempt of court case against Denel will be heard.

“It is Denel’s responsibility to comply with the court order. Denel did not make any payment and is in contempt of the court order. We have no choice but to take action and will not hesitate to have assets seized.

“Our court proceedings will continue. Where the state has its fingers in the pie politics comes first at the expense of employees. We will not have any of it, nor will Denel employees. For that reason, we will, along with our members, express our dissatisfaction by this protest action at Denel prior to court proceedings on Thursday,” Cronjé added.