Railmed workers down tools


Over 50 workers at Railmed Medical Aid Society in Bulawayo have been on strike since Monday to force their employer to pay them outstanding salaries for the last three months.

The workers, who have been gathering at the company’s city pharmacy premises since Monday, yesterday vowed to continue with the industrial action until their demands were met.

“We have not been paid since November last year,” said an employee who declined to be named.

“They did not even give us bonuses. We will sit here until they address our demands. We approached our general manager, Sifiso Mpofu, here, but she could not address our concerns.”

Mpofu could not be reached for comment as she repeatedly cut off her mobile phone each time the NewsDay crew called her.

The employees said initially they engaged the National Employment Council for the Commercial Sector and were advised to compile all names of the affected workers.

Railmed is a health insurance company for the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

Meanwhile, over 7 000 NRZ employees have threatened to go on strike soon to press for payment of their outstanding salaries, some dating back as far as 2009.

Railways Association of Engineers president Norman Simba said the workers’ patience had been stretched to the limit by the delays.

“NRZ has at least 7 000 workers that are frustrated at the moment, so if we had to declare a strike I am sure almost all of them would join in.

“We are building momentum and coordinating the areas where people could join the strike if we are to declare one,” he said.

“The trains are running and NRZ is collecting enough revenue and we are convinced that we are making enough money for NRZ to pay us what they owe us.

“At the moment all I can say is that the strike would depend on what NRZ will do within the next few weeks since they have now observed the situation and seen that workers want their money.”

Simba added that leaders of various workers’ unions would meet today in Bulawayo to discuss the way forward concerning ways to pressure NRZ to pay its workers.

But NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati warned the strike action would further delay payment of the salaries as it would affect production levels.