The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said it was shocked that a growing number of stateowned enterprises (SOEs) were not paying their workers.
This comes after Numsa received news that workers at Autopax once again have not been paid. The workers received communication from the employer last week that payments would be delayed.
Autopax is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and its main business is the long-distance transportation of passengers with its fleet of 555 buses.
Meanwhile, state arms company Denel is reported to owe millions in salaries to workers.
Numsa secretary-general Irvin Jim said workers usually received their salaries on the 27th of every month but to date no payment had been received.
“We have communicated with management on this issue because they owe it to employees to give reasons for the delay. Furthermore, employees are still expected to show up for work every day and on time. If they fail to do so they are threatened with discipline. This is unfair, because they cannot be expected to go to work when they have not received payment of their salaries. How are they expected to pay for fuel or for transportation?
“They are unable to pay their children’s school fees, or provide for their families’ needs,” Jim said.
He said Autopax workers deserved an explanation for the delay in payments. He said many SOEs were “suffering from the same problems”.
“What is even more distressing, is the silence from Prasa and the Department of Transport, who are shareholders. Autopax is wholly owned by Prasa. Management is aware of the suffering of workers but they have not intervened decisively to stabilise the situation at Autopax. Prasa, and by extension, Autopax are suffering from the same problems experienced by all other SOEs including SA Airways, Eskom, Denel and others,” Jim said.
He said the ANC government had actively “destroyed” SOEs through corruption, mismanagement and looting.
“At the same time, they have poisoned the public’s mind against state intervention in the economy because they have brought SOEs to the point of collapse.
“They have blindly pursued failed neo-liberal macro-economic policies which are attacking the working class and the poor daily. They are shamelessly serving the interests of white monopoly capital. After destroying our SOEs they will simply privatise or sell them and their capitalist cronies will enrich themselves at our expense,” Jim said.
Jim said should the SOEs collapse, hundreds of workers and their families would suffer.
“This is why Numsa is determined to fight against these hyenas whose only interest is to line their own pockets. We reject any plans to privatise or sell our SOEs and we will continue to do all we can to protect jobs and expose them for their betrayal,” he said.