ARTISANS at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) are threatening to down tools over non-payment of salaries. In a statement, the Railways Artisans Union (Rau) said its members have not been paid their dues for the past 16 months, claims which have been dismissed by NRZ management.
Rau said while management at the parastatal had promised to pay the outstanding amounts by March 31, the money is still to reflect in their bank accounts. “We are a trade union whose entire membership is made up of artisans employed by the NRZ. It is not our nature to do press releases and conferences but then these are not ordinary circumstances,” Rau president Eddie Africa said.
“Our members are dismayed by the lethargic rate at which the employer is disbursing their salaries. As if it is not enough that the salaries are 16 months late, we are now well into April and the artisans still have not been paid the belated salary they expected would be banked at the end of March and have no idea when they will be paid”.
The union said the artisans are also owed bonuses dating as far back as 2016, including transport allowances. Contacted for comment yesterday, NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika said Rau was not being truthful. “That’s not what it is. As far as I am concerned, they are getting their money,” said Maravanyika.
The NRZ spokesperson said the artisans were trying to dramatise their grievances by mixing current issues with historical ones which have since been resolved. “If they have not been paid for this month (March), they should not use the old cases – those are separate issues. If it is a new issue, they should come up with a petition then we take it from there,” he told Daily News.
According to Rau, the NRZ artisans are struggling to survive.
Rau said life has been particularly difficult for lodgers and breadwinners. “Meanwhile, the managers see it fit to cushion themselves from all this by awarding themselves outrageous allowances such as their transport allowances which are now more than a thousand dollars for some, at a company which is always pleading poverty,” Africa said.
“…Our long suffering members have reached a point of incapacitation and are now finding it very difficult to move the nation on empty stomachs and tired feet…
“They are going to demonstrate, petition and take all other necessary measures as guided by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Labour Act until the employer and the shareholder handle and address the above mentioned grievances with the gravity they merit,” the union said.