Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
17 May 2021
6:40 pm

WATCH: Anguish as unpaid Denel workers crash board meeting

Ina Opperman

Unpaid Denel workers have received letters informing them that they will not receive their salaries at the end of May will face a dark winter.

Unpaid Denel workers have no relief in sight as a recent court case only granted relief for one subsidiary, while workers stormed into a meeting where the board was sitting with unions to tell them in person how they struggle to live without their salaries.

In a tweet sent out by Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, a woman can be heard crying and telling the board and unions that she is still young and she has to resign, not by choice, but because she is a breadwinner.

“This is too much for us. Some of us are not strong enough,” she shouts. According to an employee who was present, the board member just sat there with no expressions on their faces, while the group head of human resources did nothing to offer any comfort.

ALSO READ: Unpaid Denel workers killing themselves, living out of their cars

Although many employees have resigned because they are not receiving a salary, the employee says those who resigned are also not getting their money. Staff who still want to go to work receive a few rands for travelling costs, but the employee says if you have no food, that money is used to buy food.

Court case

Labour union Solidarity took the arms manufacturer Denel to task recently with a ruling in favour of Solidarity and its members.

The High Court in Pretoria ruled that Denel must urgently comply with statutory regulations regarding their employees. Denel is now forced by the High Court to pay over the unemployment insurance fund (UIF) monies and tax which were deducted from employees’ salaries over several months.

Asked for comment, Helgard Cronje from Solidarity said that the ruling did not cover the whole company and that although the sheriff started making a list of assets, nothing had been sold yet.

“However, they are playing games now, because the money used to pay old debts is simply taken off the current account that should be used to pay salaries,” he said.

ALSO READ: Labour Court orders Denel to pay outstanding salaries by Friday