THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it will delay the payment of March 2014 salaries, which were due at the end of this month, as it prioritises paying bonus for its workers.
Despite being nine months late, the parasatal said the March salaries will be further delayed, as it wants to pay bonuses, which will be released in two tranches, first on December 19 and the remainder at the end of April 2015.
In a circular to workers, seen by Southern Eye, acting general manager Lewis Mukwada said workers were due to receive their March salaries at the end of this month, but the payment of bonuses will further push this back.
“In arriving at the above payment plan which was informed by the current and projected severe cashflow constraints, management was sensitive to the need for members of staff to be paid at least part of their annual bonus in time for the Christmas festive season,” the circular reads.
“Regrettably, this payment will have the effect of slightly delaying the disbursement of the March 2014 net salaries, which are scheduled for the end of December 2014.”
Mukwada implored the parastatal’s management to ensure their subordinates knew of the latest changes to the payment of their salaries and understood the NRZ’s financial position.
“Kindly ensure that staff under your control are made aware of the foregoing and are implored to bear with the organisation and avoid engaging in any activity that may further worsen the business and financial challenges currently besetting the organisation,” he wrote.
The parastatal has gone for several months without paying salaries and the delay to pay March salaries will be a bitter pill for workers who will have to rely on half their bonuses.
However, the president of Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers Union (Zarwu), Kamurai Moyo said they were in total disagreement with what management was proposing, warning they would take unspecified action against their employer.
“Zarwu is total in disagreement with the management’s payment proposal because the lowest paid in the organisation takes home $172 and when one is given half of it, what is the remainder?
“As Zarwu it is unacceptable, the employee has been borrowing from every corner throughout the year and you tell the worker that only half will be paid out.
“The employee will have to make a decision, we are contemplating taking action and this action can be any form,” he said.
Moyo said NRZ was making money with all shifts running smoothly and they could not understand why the company was failing to pay.
“The board must intervene for the situation to improve and we know they are the ones who can correct this,” he said.
NRZ board chairman Alvod Mabhena said while the employees did not deserve what was happening to them, they needed to be patient.