OVER 400 National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) retrenches have threatened to stage daily demonstrations at the ailing parastatal’s various stations countrywide to press for payment of their terminal benefits.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Last year, NRZ fired over 400 employees taking advantage of the July 17, 2015 Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to terminate workers’ contracts on three months’ notice.
The fired workers have since formed an organisation called Association of Railways Terminated Employees (ARTE).
ARTE chairperson, Lynda Masarira yesterday led a group of 30 NRZ retrenchees and briefly demonstrated at the parastatal’s Bulawayo offices accusing management of reneging on its promise to release the money this month.
Masarira said the daily protests would commence in February until they have all received their terminal benefits, which include outstanding salaries for the past three years.
“The current labour laws are very clear that within six months after one’s dismissal they should be given their packages,” she said.
“Our six months expire at the end of January. If they fail to pay us we will stage massive daily demonstrations until we get our dues. We will soon get papers from our lawyers on our stance.
“NRZ is currently recruiting people, but they say they have no money. How are they going to pay them? The NRZ presented to workers a ridiculous and indefinite payment plan on an unofficial piece of paper that the workers rejected. All we want is money and if they don’t pay us we will be regular visitors to their offices and that is despite them calling riot police.
This time we have to be brave, it is better for all of us to be arrested fighting for our rights.”
According to a petition sent to NRZ management, the ex-workers claimed they are owed between $9 000 and $60 000 by their employer.
NRZ spokesperson, Fanuel Masikati was not available for comment as he was said to be out of office.