The trade union UASA had the opportunity to meet with the newly appointed minister of State Owned Enterprises, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, to discuss the plight of Denel employees who might be facing retrenchment due to the poor management and neglect of Denel management and its board. Mr. Gordhan was speaking at the annual FEDUSA Collective Bargaining Conference.
“We explained to the minister that we have, in writing, several matters of concern raised over the past months with Denel's management, which were also tabled at the meeting. In addition, we also conveyed that the Denel board which met 22 February 2018 and inter alia discussed the restructuring of the Denel workforce, which includes LMT Products (Pty) Ltd, of which Denel is the majority shareholder. The company apparently contemplates the retrenchment 50% of its employees”, says Willie van Eeden, Sector Manager responsible for aerospace industries in the union. “We reiterated our opposition to any form of restructuring that will negatively impact on the job security and financial freedom of our members”, says van Eeden. “ We lost confidence and trust in the Board and Executive Management of Denel because of the way they interacted with employees and external stakeholders. The latter caused serious reputational damage to the Denel Group. Towards this end, we appealed to the minister for his urgent intervention to put a stop to the plans of Denel by way of conducting a full forensic audit and an investigation to prevent any further destruction of shareholder value”, he said.
The minister explained that poor management of SOE’s took its toll over the last 10 years and it will take a major intervention in each one of them to get them to function optimally again. He stressed that major changes will be needed and that the cooperation of all stakeholders will be of critical importance.
He took serious note of our Denel specific pleas and he said the he will investigate the same while he also expressed his concern that a number of SOE’s, including Denel, could soon be running out of cash, which is a very undesirable situation.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Willie van Eeden at 082 445 1945.