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Solidarity and Denel set for Labour Court battle next month over unpaid salaries

The legal battle which has seen beleaguered state-owned weapons manufacturer Denel facing off against trade union Solidarity. File picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

The legal battle which has seen beleaguered state-owned weapons manufacturer Denel facing off against trade union Solidarity. File picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Published Jan 20, 2022

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Cape Town - The legal battle which has seen beleaguered state-owned weapons manufacturer Denel facing off against trade union Solidarity over unpaid salaries and benefits is to continue at the Labour Court next month.

Last September, the Labour Court ordered that assets worth R4.6 million be attached by the Sheriff and sold with the money raised going to pay outstanding salaries and employee benefits, including medical-aid and pensions.

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The amount paid was to settle two debts owed to Solidarity members in Denel Dynamics and Denel Land Systems.

Defence and aerospace Solidarity sector co-ordinator Derek Mans said it was important to note that the salaries were settled in some divisions but not in all of them.

He said through its attorneys that Solidarity had written to the Sheriff to continue with the seizure of the specific representative amounts per division.

“We are in the Labour Court again on February 10 for outstanding salaries for the rest of the period – August 2020 to date.”

Meanwhile, Solidarity approached the High Court on December 2 regarding the matter of holding the directors personally liable for the non-payment of salaries for the period of May 2020 to July 2020.

Mans said the court granted the directors up to March 16 this year to settle the outstanding payments.

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Solidarity was the first representative labour group to take on Denel for non and partial payment of salaries and employee benefits. Following their success, UASA and Numsa followed suit.

In December, UASA upped the ante by lodging a formal complaint against Denel with the Public Protector, asking that she investigate any form of maladministration at Denel and its divisions and make recommendations on how to avert the total collapse of the company.

Meanwhile, in a written answer to a parliamentary question, Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan told DA MP Michéle Clarke that the company’s five divisional chief executives and Interim Group chief executive are currently receiving partial salaries.

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Clarke had asked whether the chief executive, the group chief executive and board members of Denel are currently receiving their salaries and whether they have been paid since June 1, 2020.

Minister Gordhan said he had received information from Denel that Non-Executive Directors of the Denel Board have received Directors’ fees for official meetings attended.

He said payment of Board fees had been made in full for Quarters 2, 3 and 4 of the 2020/21 financial year, as well as for Quarters 1 and 2 of the 2021/22 financial year.

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“Board member’s fees for Quarter 3 of 2021/22 are still outstanding in full, and committee fees for Quarter 1, 2 and 3 of 2021/22 financial year are still outstanding due to Denel’s liquidity situation,” said Gordhan.

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Cape Argus

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