A storm is brewing at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) after management allegedly denied workers’ union representatives permission to hold a meeting at the parastatal’s premises to discuss workers’ welfare.
NRZ management said they did not recognise the union. Abel Mahlangu, president of the Train Workers’ Union (TWU) said they were not amused after they were denied permission to hold “a crisis meeting” at NRZ’s Africa House on Tuesday.
He said the NRZ management argued it did not recognise the union and that most of the issues they wanted to discuss were still before the courts.
NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati confirmed the standoff.
“No, we did not allow the illegal union to hold its meeting at our facilities in the sense that it is not a registered union and we are fighting them over their legal standing in the courts.
“The case is still pending and we could not seem to be legalising them yet still be fighting them in the courts,” said Masikati.
Mahlangu said they intended to discuss, among other issues, low staff morale and the plight of several workers dismissed from the parastatal over the last three years.
Mahlangu, who worked for the NRZ as a train driver for 32 years, is one of the workers who were dismissed from work by the utility but has taken the matter to court.
“Our meeting was meant to discuss issues of workers who have not been paid salaries, wages, overtime, relief and other allowances by the NRZ.
“We also intended to look into illegal payment of allowances using vouchers, transport allowances of $40 per month, pension funds, payment of emoluments, and retrenchment issues pursued by the utility,” he said.
NRZ and the other unions namely Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers’ Union and Railway Association of Enginemen have a pending case against TWU’s operations on allegations that it is not properly registered.