Wednesday, January 16, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: No last minute reprieve for 523 Denel AMG employees as SAAF confirms contract will not be renewed.

DenelDenel Aviation is to proceed with the laying off of 523 employees (538 according to Denel) from its MRO division, Aero Manpower Group, and Denel Personnel Solutions, come 31 March after the South African Air Force (SAAF) confirmed during the first retrenchment consultation that it would not be renewing its contract.

In a statement, Denel said:
"Denel informed the representative unions that it will proceed with Section 189A for the 538 DPS employees when the contract ends on 31 March 2013. The SAAF has informed DPS that the existing contract will not be renewed at the termination date. Because DPS has no contract or order cover beyond this date the company has no other option but to proceed with the retrenchment for the entire DPS/AMG workforce."
Source [Denel]

Denel Aviation MRO
Denel Aviation
Jack Loggenberg, spokesman for South African trade union Solidarity who represent 208 of the 523 employees, said Denel's top management had done 'everything possible' in a bid to salvage the contract with the SAAF, but accused the SAAF of playing a waiting game in order to rehire some of the laid off employees at a lower wage.

"We suspect that the air force does not want to get involved in formal consultations with the trade unions. The air force probably wants to end the Denel contract because it is very expensive. If the air force were to take over some of the contracts of employment, a section 197 would have to be issued as well for the transfer of the contracts. According to section 197 of the Labour Relations Act, employees' conditions of service and remuneration must be kept on the same level when their contracts of employment are transferred. It is therefore our suspicion that the air force, in order to save money, will wait until all the employees have been retrenched before possibly appointing some of them on a lower salary to do the same work," said Loggenberg.
Source [Solidarity]

The ongoing consultation process should be completed by 14 February in order to comply with the termination of employment date of 31 March. However, owing to DPS/AMG’s contractual obligations to the SAAF, none of the workers will be able to leave the company before March 31. During this time, both Solidarity and the Denel board have said they will attempt to find positions for the employees either within Denel or in other companies.

The employees concerned are stationed nationwide at different squadrons, including Hoedspruit, Lephalale, Louis Trichardt, Bredasdorp, Ysterplaat and Langebaan. About 40% of the aircraft specialists are stationed in Pretoria.