October 16, 2018 / 4:57 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Solidarity union to strike at state-owned defence firm over pay

(Adds detail, background)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 16 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Solidarity union said on Tuesday its members at state-owned defence firm Denel will down tools on Wednesday over a pay dispute.

Solidarity announced its plan to picket after the firm said it would only pay salaries in October but the payments of November salaries and other allowances were in jeopardy.

Denel, which produces military kit for South Africa’s army and foreign forces, has held talks with unions over voluntary severance packages, reduced working hours and salary cuts for some staff as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis.

Denel has not paid managers and specialists their full salaries in September.

“It is outrageous that a company... would expect its workers to simply continue working while not knowing when to expect their next salary cheque,” said Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Johan Botha.

A spokeswoman at Denel said the company could not immediately comment.

In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa oversaw the appointment of a new board at Denel. Ramaphosa has made improving governance and stabilizing the finances of state firms a priority since replacing Jacob Zuma as head of state in February. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg Editing by James Macharia)

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