Numsa members outside the Union Building in Pretoria before marching to the Department of Public Enterprises to demand that government save Denel. Photo: Brenda Masilela / ANA

Pretoria - Hundreds of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members marched to the department of public enterprises offices in Pretoria on Friday demanding government save state-owned arms manufacturer, Denel.

The union said it remains dismayed that no financial bailout package was allocated to Denel, putting at risk thousands of jobs.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said the struggling state-owned arms company wanted to reduce hours in the workplace and cut salaries by 20 percent on staff costs.

"We reject this because it's not workers fault that Denel finds itself in this financial crisis. It's because of poor decision making at the highest level, it's because of allegations of corruption and looting at the highest level," Hlubi said.

She said the union is demanding that the government injects the needed funds in the form of a bailout to save Denel from sinking deeper into financial crisis. 

Denel made a R1.7 billion loss during the last financial year.

The union wants the government to inject no less than R7 billion into the cash-strapped entity.

"Such an amount will go a long way, not just to pay Denel’s suppliers, but it will be sufficient enough to ensure a viable turnaround strategy," said union general secretary, Irvin Jim, in a statement.

Jim said spending money on Denel is compulsory and it cannot be blocked or compromised by conservative, "right-wing" austerity measures.

African News Agency (ANA)