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Workers Strike Over Pay At South African Arms Maker Denel


JOHANNESBURG   –      Hundreds of South Africa’s Solidarity union members held a strike on Wednesday over a pay dispute at cash-strapped state-owned weapons manufacturer Denel.

Denel, which produces military kit for South Africa’s army and foreign forces, has held talks with unions over voluntary severance packages, reduced working hours and salary cuts for some staff as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis.

The firm did not pay managers and specialists their full salaries in September.

The workers held the strike after Denel said it will be able to pay salaries in October but salaries for November and other allowances were not guaranteed.

“We’re bringing attention to the board that they’re sitting with a huge number of unhappy and insecure employees not knowing if they’ll have an income next month,” Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Johan Botha said.

“The Denel board needs to implement a turnaround strategy as soon as possible… to pull this issue out of the fire.”

The strikers planned to hand over a memorandum and a petition of their grievances to Denel officials, he said.

A spokeswoman at Denel said she could not immediately comment.

In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa oversaw the appointment of a new board at Denel, as part of a wider plan to improve the governance and finances of state firms.

Saudi Arabia has approached South Africa about taking a stake Denel, the African country’s foreign affairs minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed last week. (Reuters)

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