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NRZ workers thrown out of company houses, families sleep in the open


Nowhere to go ... Some of the NRZ families who were affected by the evictions

01/01/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporters
 
 
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SOME National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees who have gone for months without salaries have been left stranded after they were evicted from company houses on Friday.

The workers, who are based at the NRZ Harare main station where they also live, were ordered out as their bosses claimed they were no longer entitled to the houses since their promotion from security officers to other positions.

"On Friday night at around 10 pm, we were forced to leave and our property was dumped in the rain because we had been promoted and we should no longer be staying here.

"The so-called promotion does not make any sense to us as we have been unpaid for months and we have no money to look for alternative accommodation," one of the affected workers, speaking on condition of anonymity said.

Since Friday's eviction, the workers' property remains scattered in the open, covered in plastics to protect it from the heavy rains currently being experienced across the country.

Said one employee: "The NRZ management is cruel. How do they expect us to find alternative accommodation when we have not been paid in years and we are living like beggars?

"Schools are reopening next week and our children who attend school will be affected. Our property is being ruined due to the incessant rains while for the past two days we have been sleeping in the open with young children exposing us to health hazards.

"We have nowhere to make appeals as management is still on holiday. This is cruel.”

The vacated properties are yet to be re-occupied with NRZ sources saying the houses should be occupied by security personnel only.

Commenting on the evictions, political activist and former NRZ train driver Linda Masarira said the workers had been treated like slaves.  

“After committing so much energy and sacrifice to the wholly-owned parastatal, all they get is suffering and sorrow instead of salaries,” she said.

“And it’s not that the company is not making money but that all the revenue is channelled to Zanu PF activities and management allowances.”

She added: “I am deeply hurt by this level of insensitivity by the Zimbabwean government. Zimbabweans deserve better.

“All working men and women deserve to (be paid); their families deserve a home and all kids deserve to learn. No one has title deeds to this country.”



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In March last year, over 4,000 NRZ workers went on strike after going for 14 months without getting their salaries with the parastatal reported to be owing them more than $87 million in outstanding salaries.

The strike was called off in June after it was ruled illegal by a Bulawayo Labour Court judge.


 
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