South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) is set to down tools at Denel Aeronautics on Tuesday, 18 September.
SATAWU served the division of Denel SOC with a 48-hour strike notice following a deadlock in wage negotiations. Wage talks at the company started in March this year and deadlocked in May but to date the union and the employer have not reached a settlement.
Starting the negotiations, workers demanded a 15% across the board wage increase but employers offered only 4% and refused to negotiate further. Plus SATAWU has refused to accept the status quo at company which ensures one set of workers receives a higher percentage wage increase than the other.
SATAWU started organising workers at Denel Aeronautics last year and discovered the work force was divided into Scheduled and Non-Scheduled workers. Scheduled workers work directly with aircraft parts while Non-Scheduled workers are in a supportive role. Denel Aeronautics maintains and services military aircraft for the South African Airforce and offers maintenance, repairs and operations for both local and international defence markets.
Due to their work with metal components, Scheduled workers fall under the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) which regulates industry employment relations via a main collective agreement (MCA). In accordance with the MCA signed last year, Scheduled workers are set to receive a 5.73% wage hike while their Non-Scheduled counterparts have to make do with a mere 4%.
While Denel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons including a R1 million bursary awarded to the son of former North West Premiere Supra Mahumapelo, in 2017 the board approved the adjustment of executive pay packages to reflect that of other state-owned entities. Due to this adjustment, the Group Chief Operating Officer scored himself a staggering 60% pay hike.
Denel’s refusal to negotiate is like a slap in the face for workers of the organisation since the dire financial state the company finds itself in is of their making. SATAWU rejects management’s stance with the contempt it deserves and will lead workers on strike until their demands are met.
For media queries and to arrange an interview:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer
Zanele@satawu.org.za/ 079 287 5788/ 011 403 2077