BULAWAYO, April 12 (The Source)— The strike by workers of National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers on Tuesday entered its second week with no end in sight despite a promise by the parastatal’s chairman to pay part of their outstanding salaries “soon”.
The workers, who have gone for 15 months without pay, told NRZ board chairman Larry Mavima who was in Bulawayo to plead with them to return to work, that they would not end their strike until their demands are met.
Mavima told the workers that NRZ had recovered its $2,1 million debt from Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and would use that money to pay them.
“I came today to bring you money, not promises. We got an amount of about $2,1 million from GMB and that money will be disbursed by the management. Let’s go back to work. I am begging you, because if we continue with this strike, which is illegal by the way, we will not be able to meet our obligations,” Mavima said.
However, the workers, who are owed $68 million in unpaid wages, said the money was too little and they pressed him for details on how the money would be disbursed.
“We have been patient enough and now we are saying enough is enough. We want our monies because our children are no longer going to school. You can’t tell us to go back to work without giving us our monies. No money, no job,” said one worker.
Workers told Mavima that government needed to reduce the number of NRZ’s management team which they argued was top heavy.
NRZ is also saddled with a $144 million debt.
The NRZ is moving an average of three million tons of cargo annually compared to 12 million tons in 1992 and 19 million tons in 1997.
At least 93 percent of its revenue used to come from its freight services.