Cosatu: 'Horror' Christmas for Denel workers who haven’t been fully paid

Denel told Parliament in August that it currently owes employees over R600 million and suppliers R900 million.

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CAPE TOWN - Trade union federation Cosatu has warned of a “horror” Christmas for employees of state arms manufacturer Denel who haven’t been fully paid since last year.

Denel told Parliament in August that it currently owes employees over R600 million and suppliers R900 million.

Cosatu Parliament co-ordinator Mathew Parks said they have heard of one employee committing suicide and some having their assets repossessed.

In September Denel employees approached the courts to have it placed under business rescue to help solve its financial crisis.

That crisis continues as they head into Christmas, according to Parks.

"It’s been a horror story for the last couple of years where the staff has not been paid for long periods of time. When they’ve been paid it’s partial salaries."

Parks said Denel needs an urgent turn around. He says he’s even heard reports of an employee in financial difficulty taking their own life.

"It’s going to be quite a bleak Christmas for those workers. Many of them have resigned, many have lost their cars houses and furniture. There have even been reports of a suicide among some of those workers at Denel in the past two years."

He said what Denel requires is a turnaround strategy to be able to build and deliver arms to clients and less political interference.