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Major South African union opposes state arms firm stake sale

Reuters  |  JOHANNESBURG 

(Reuters) - The of Metalworkers of South (NUMSA) is opposed to the government selling a stake in struggling state-run arms firm and will fight attempts to force through salary cuts, the union said on Wednesday.

Denel, which makes weapons, missiles and armoured vehicles for the South African armed forces and clients in Africa, the Gulf and Europe, is battling to stay afloat after reporting a 1.7 billion rand ($121 million) loss.

South African has made shoring up ailing state firms a priority and said last week that was "ripe" for joint venture partnerships after offered to take a stake in the

Unions are an important support base for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), so Ramaphosa must tread carefully before next year's

"When you bring in an equity partner, there is always a likelihood that there will be jobs lost, so we as NUMSA are opposed to any form of privatisation," said NUMSA

"We also reject salary for ordinary workers at They should find other ways to guarantee the future of the company," Morulane added.

NUMSA and another union, Solidarity, account for roughly half of Denel's workforce of 4,000 people.

Earlier this week Solidarity rejected a proposal to cut Denel salaries by around 20 percent from the end of November but said it thought selling an equity stake was the only way to save the company.

Denel is one of a handful of South African state firms that became embroiled in corruption scandals involving the Guptas, a trio of brothers with close ties to scandal-plagued former

Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing. Their relationship is part of the focus of a graft inquiry backed by Ramaphosa.

($1 = 13.9935 rand)

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Joe Brock)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 07 2018. 21:04 IST
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