UASA labour case against Denel back in court

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Trade union UASA’s labour case against Denel is back in court today, 16 March, as the union continues to fight for the state-owned company to pay outstanding salaries.

After almost 19 months, Denel has still not fully complied with a court order, dated 4 August 2020, ordering the company to honour its outstanding contractual salary obligations to UASA members in its employ.

UASA’s spokesperson Abigail Moyo said the trade union “will continue to fight tooth and nail for the rights of our members employed by Denel. We will continue with the court battles until Denel complies with all contractual obligations towards our members.”

A comparison attached to Denel’s affidavit dated 1 March 2022 revealed that Denel had made little progress towards payments to SARS and the Denel pension fund (DENRET) between 1 July 2021 and March 2022. UASA said it is disappointed by Denel’s application for the dismissal of the application as it is misguided and inappropriate, “hence further oversight is indeed called for this matter.”

It added that UASA is deeply concerned by Denel’s response to the court order. “The weapons manufacturer shows no sense of emergency to honour its outstanding obligations, making a mere promise of intent to comply with the court order, and only in terms of paying three months’ salaries and dues (May to July 2020) by the end of September 2022.

“Denel did not bother to disclose to the court that on 24 February 2022, it obtained an order for the variation of the trust deed of the Denel Medical Trust stating that the company will receive a financial ‘injection’ of R1 billion accessing the excess funds in the medical benefits trust.”

UASA said its members working at Denel continue to bear the brunt of Denel’s and its Shareholder lack of commitment. “While the cost of living soars unabated, unpaid Denel workers are expected to report for duty.”

Denel is also in a legal battle with trade union Solidarity, which received a court order for Denel to pay its members R90 million in outstanding salaries. As Denel did not comply, warrants of execution were earlier this month submitted to the sheriff of the court following a Labour Court ruling.

At the end of December 2021, Denel owed R789 million to employees and R900 million to suppliers.