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THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has fired 1,300 workers without salaries which have not been paid since June last year or even terminal benefits, some of those affected said Monday.
NewZimbabwe.com last week reported that the crippled parastatal would take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling allowing companies to retrench without paying terminal benefits and fire more than 1,000 employees.
State media moved to play down the numbers, claiming the parastatal would only get rid of 300 workers.
However, an NRZ worker who chose to remain anonymous said the parastatal had dismissed a total of 1,300 workers with 560 having been served with letters of contract termination on Monday.
“As I speak to you, 560 workers are being served with letters of contract termination and we are told the others (740) will be served with the same letters on Tuesday.
He added: “The company has not paid our salaries backdated to last year.
“Management is saying the company has no money to pay the outstanding salaries and we are going home empty handed.”
Earlier this year, NRZ workers based in Mutare and Bulawayo downed tools vowing to continue with the protest until their demands are met.
The demands included payment of outstanding salaries and the ouster of management which they blamed for the parastatal’s woes.
But Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s ruling meant that it was workers who were fired, and not the bungling managers.
NRZ spokesperson, Fanuel Masikati, did not respond to calls as his phone was unanswered.
Some 12,000 workers have lost their jobs throughout the country in the past three weeks and the figure is expected to go up as struggling companies use the Supreme Court ruling to retrench without paying costly redundancy packages.
The government appears to be in confusion over the jobs carnage with some ministers condemning the dismissals while industry minister Mike Bimha said they would help return companies to financial health.
Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira has said she is working on strategies to address the situation.