Supreme Court Ruling: National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) To Lay Off 1500 Workers

Troubled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) Friday became the first government entity to fire workers following the Supreme Court ruling which gave employers permission to terminate contracts on notice, strategically placed sources said.

About 1000 to 1 500 workers are set to lose their jobs, according to the sources. The controversial Supreme Court ruling, which President Mugabe described as an “ass” , has already claimed close to 10 000 jobs in a fortnight.

Sources who spoke to said the NRZ management started issuing termination of contract letters around midday causing widespread panic among workers. “We understand the aims to fire between 1000 and 1 500 workers from different departments.

Some of the worst affected departments include the library and the train inspectorate as most of the staff in these departments have been issued with dismissal letters,” said NRZ employee in an interview. A letter seen this publication, confirms the parastatal’s decision to reduce its workforce which has endured close to a year without salaries. “We advise that the National Railways of Zimbabwe has decided to and hereby terminates your contract of employment on three month’s notice.

“The notice period shall take effect from the day immediately following that of your receipt or delivery of this letter at your residential address as indicated in our records,” read part of the letter. The letter continues: “You are not required to perform any of your contractual duties during the notice period, save that at the discretion of the National Railways of Zimbabwe you may be required to hand over or provide information relating to your responsibilities. “Your pay in lieu of notice shall be deposited into your bank account in the usual manner at the end of each of the notice months.

Any other amounts owed to you by the organisation shall be paid to you in accordance with the current practice.” Management also ordered the fired workers to surrender all property belonging to the parastatal in their possession. “You are required to immediately return all property belonging to the National Railways of Zimbabwe which may be in your possession. Medical and identity cards should be returned immediately upon the expiration of the notice period. The replacement of any items not returned will be to your account,” read the letter.

NRZ Public Relations Manager Fanuel Masikati said he needed more time before he could comment on the issue.

At its peak the NRZ employed about 25 000 people but the number has dwindled to around 7 000.

Transport Minister Obert Mpofu told a business meeting in Harare last year that he had blocked a request by the parastatal’s board to fire 6 000 workers and remain with about 1000 employees.

More state departments are expected to follow the NRZ move soon and before anything is done about the massive job cuts.

Mugabe promised that government will soon amend the law. source-nezimbabwe

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