Another component of government’s defence establishment appears to be at odds with its workforce with Armscor joining Denel on the receiving end of attention from a trade union.
Centurion-headquartered Solidarity, in the form of its defence and aviation sector co-ordinator Helgard Cronjé, sent the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency a five-page letter outlining problems related to Armscor’s financial status and its potential impact on employees. At least some of the information in his letter comes from defenceWeb coverage of Armscor’s potentially precarious financial situation.
Cronjé makes mention of a “communique” from chief executive Solomzi Mbada, dated 14 July, to Armscor staff “vaguely referring to the financial struggles of Armscor and that further cost containment measures need to be considered”. He goes on to quote defenceWeb and points out “it is communicated as fact that Armscor will not pay increases or performance bonuses.”
The Solidarity letter continues: “Employees as stakeholders should have been consulted. As a party representing some employees as stakeholders we were not approached or consulted by Armscor. We are not aware that NEHAWU was consulted in this regard and any agreement reached. If so, it was not communicated as an outcome to employees.
“It is our view proper consultation has not taken place and no agreement exists between Armscor and its labour stakeholders. There is a serious lack of informative communication between Armscor management and employees. Labour relations are basically non-existent if employees come to know of details via the media.”
Cronjé writes the trade union “is led to believe Armscor’s executive committee has covertly started amending the staff reduction practice” pointing out Armscor has more management positions than needed. “We find positions superfluously created to serve employment equity requirements; we find a management group where salaries were adjusted to create a super-rich management environment at the expense of employees”.
Responding, Armscor acting Group Executive: Corporate Support, Advocate Ndodomzi Mvambo, said measures have to be considered to ensure financial sustainability of the organisation.
He points out issues raised by Solidarity “have been identified by management as aspects that can be explored to further save costs”.
Both Armscor and Solidarity confirmed there will be “engagement” on the issues raised.
Solidarity will take Denel to court over non-payment of salaries. Trade union UASA will do the same next month (August) as pressure mounts on South Africa’s state-owned defence entities.