THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers who last month downed tools to force management to pay outstanding salaries will today appear at the Labour Court to respond to a show cause order. A show cause is a type of court order that requires one or more of the parties to a case to justify, explain, or prove something to the court.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira last month ordered the more than 4,000 striking NRZ workers to return to work pending the determination of their case.
The workers have not been paid for the past 15 months. Workers at the parastatal have since gone back to work after receiving a fraction of the money owed. NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati confirmed that the workers had received a little payment and said management was yet to evaluate the compliance of the workers with the ministry’s directive to return to work.
“The workers have started receiving their monies although it’s not the full amounts owed. As of now we haven’t done the assessment on whether the workers have gone back to work, call me tomorrow and I’ll be in a position to give you correct information,” said Masikati.
NRZ board chairman Larry Mavima two weeks ago told workers that NRZ had recovered its $2,1 million debt from the Grain Marketing Board and would use that money to pay them. In an earlier incident the company had alleged that some of the striking workers were behind the derailment of a goods train in Gweru last month.
The 26 wagon-train, was headed for South Africa with more than 1,000 tonnes of nickel and media reports said initial investigations indicated that four points along the railway line behind Fairmile Hotel in Gweru were tampered with.
The ailing parastatal, which is saddled with a $144 million debt; $68 million of which is owed to workers, continues to experience plummeting freight volumes, which have negatively impacted on income. chronicle