27 May

The hardship suffered by employees at state-owned company Denel resulted in two distressing and heart-wrenching suicides this week.

UASA has at several occasions emphatically underscored the plight not only of its members at the weapons manufacturer but of all employees who have gone without salaries since July 2020 or were only paid a meagre percentage of what was owed to them.

That the dire situation at Denel is still not getting the attention it deserves from either government or the company’s board of directors is disheartening, particularly against the background of the directors being paid in full while neglecting to pay their employees.

Denel is in breach of contract with its workers. The company is simply looking on while its employees are struggling to pay their bills and taking care of their families in the most stressful financial circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic already placed families under pressure and now, with children going back to school this week, many parents employed at Denel will be unable to provide in their children’s back-to-school needs.

These circumstances lead to mental and emotional distress that resulted in two workers seeing no other option than to take their own lives earlier this week.

UASA attended the “Unblocking Session on Priority Sectors” forum where we raised this point, commanding attention. The forum was also attended by representatives of Business Unity South Africa, Organised Labour at Nedlac (Fedusa, NACTU & Cosatu), the Department of Public Enterprises, Treasury, various research units and other interest groups, as well as Denel.

Regrettably, Denel presented no “master plan” to rectify the situation and its directors made it clear that there was no game plan.

In an attempt to minimize expenses Denel started implementing short-time working arrangements with some employees. In these instances employees were given clarity on the a turnaround plan in an attempt to revert to normal working conditions.

Unfortunately not all departments were able to commit to achievable turnaround plans due to the shameful laissez faire attitude of the Denel directors.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 1700 162.

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