Solidarity to resist Denel pay hikes


Solidarity, the trade union representing 1500 of Denel’s 6000 employers,says it will resist the group’s attempts to impose a “meagre” 4% salary increase. Denel last month conceded this was below inflation and effective amounted to a wage decrease, but said it was all they could afford.

The state arsenal is currently in a tough turn-around following years of losses. It ended R544 million the red n for the year-to-March 2009, which was a considerable improvement on the loss of R1.6 billion for the period ending in March 2006. The company last posted a profit – of R24.1 million – in 2001. The last profit before that was R81.5 million in 1997. It expects to report a los of about R600 million for the year to March 2010 and return to profitability in early 2014.

Solidarity says it is evident that Denel intends to enforce its instruction that wage increases at the company’s various entities not exceed 4%. “Solidarity maintains that this increase will not, under any circumstances, be implemented at any of the Denel entities where wage negotiations are to be held soon,” the union says in a statement. “Solidarity’s warning comes after Denel Dynamics made a meagre wage offer of 4% during wage negotiations that kicked off last week. This entity is adamant that the offer cannot be improved owing to a tight budget.”

Solidarity gave the company a final opportunity to revise its offer for further negotiations in the second round. “If Denel Dynamics does not improve its offer by then, the negotiations will be at an impasse, leaving us no alternative but to declare a dispute,” said Solidarity spokesman Jaco Kleynhans.

He added that the wage negotiations that lie ahead at the nine other Denel entities are expected to follow the same route as negotiations at Denel Dynamics. “It is evident that Denel is taking an extremely headstrong approach in this year’s negotiations owing to the Denel board’s decision. Solidarity will not, under any circumstances, allow increases below the current inflation rate as offered by Denel,” avered Kleynhans. “If Denel persists with this attitude and implements these increases, numerous highly skilled employees, who are in high demand in other parts of the world, will start looking for greener pastures.”
“Employees will no longer be satisfied with very little while management award themselves large bonuses. When management received bonuses amounting to R4.2 million last year, no mention was made of tight budgets that have to be adhered to. However, when wage negotiations take place there are plenty of excuses and this state of affairs will not be tolerated,” said Kleynhans.

Solidarity says wage negotiations are due at Denel’s Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM), Denel Aviation, Denel Dynamics, Denel Land Systems (DLS), Denel PMP, Denel SAAB Aerostructures (DSA), Denel Personnel Solutions/AMG, (DPS/AMG), Denel Properties (DENPROP), Overberg-toetsbaan (OTB) and Carl Zeiss SA.

Pic: Denel workers assemble an AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopter inthis January 2008 file photo.