Solidarity calls for lockdown rules to end as Denel unable to pay salaries

The organisation said businesses such as Denel were not generating income due to the lockdown, leading to workers losing out on income.

FILE: The struggling state-owned company said the COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its performance while existing liquidity challenges persist. Picture: @DenelSOC/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - With Denel employees now grappling with the news that the company can’t afford to pay salaries at the end of May, Solidarity has called for lockdown regulations to be terminated.

The organisation on Wednesday said businesses such as Denel were not generating income due to the lockdown, leading to workers losing out on income.

The struggling state-owned company said the COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its performance while existing liquidity challenges persist.

Solidarity, which represents workers at the company, said there was no need to make a choice between work and health, adding that businesses could open their doors without compromising the health of workers.

Solidarity’s sector coordinator for defence and aviation Helgard Cronje said: “But they were able to survive in the months prior to COVID-19 and prior to the lockdown from their operations.”

However, the record will show that many workers have - since the easing of the lockdown rules - contracted COVID-19 with some workplaces forced to close soon after they were reopened.

In Denel’s case, the company said it had been allowed to bring only 30% of its workforce back to production with 19% working from home while the remaining 51% could not work at all.

The business has also been struggling to move some of its export orders due to the effects of the national lockdown.

When Denel was in a similar position last year, Treasury intervened to ensure salaries were paid.