Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers in Bulawayo yesterday began two-hour daily demonstrations aimed at forcing the removal of the company’s management which they accuse of crippling the parastatal. The workers from the main station in the city said they were also working on a petition to force the ouster of management and the directors whom they claimed to have ‘failed’ them.
Railways Association of Enginemen vice-president Juniel Manyere told The Chronicle that the demonstrations were aimed at getting the board to remove the current management.
“The root of our problem is mismanagement where we’re saying we’ve engaged management on several fora, we’ve proved that management has failed to run the organisation.
“The reason for this demonstration was to highlight this to the board and relevant authorities that we no longer have faith in the management,” said Manyere.
He said the demonstrations were also being staged in Harare, Gweru and Mutare.
“The demos run from 8AM-10AM because we can’t go on a job action, we want to commit to serving the organisation and we don’t want to sabotage the customers,” Manyere said.
He said workers were finding their way to work although they had not received their transport allowances.
Manyere said they were not happy that the acting general manager Lewis Mukwada was still in office when he had allegedly failed interviews for the position of substantive general manager.
“We’re told that he failed the interview, the board announced that he failed the interview but he is still in charge and that’s what we call mismanagement,” he said.
Railway Artisans Union Secretary General Farai Dambudzo said they were working on writing a petition to the board and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
“We’re preparing a petition for the board with a specific demand that this management must go. That petition should be handed to the board tomorrow, it will be copied to the Minister of Transport, Obert Mpofu and Vice-President Mphoko,” said Dambudzo.
The workers’ representatives said all workers employed by the parastatal who are owed thousands of dollars by the parastatal are taking part in the demonstrations.
The workers accused the parastatal of engaging in “win-lose” deals which were not benefitting the company.
NRZ Public Relations Manager Fanuel Masikati could not shed more light on the matter.
“Why don’t you wait for tomorrow (today) when the board chair Alvord Mabena addresses the workers, before you publish the story” he said.
The parastatal is still hunting for a general manager after all the 40 candidates who had applied for the position of general manager at the ailing parastatal failed to make the grade.
NRZ has been without a substantive general manager since the death of retired air commodore Mike Karakadzai in August 2013.
The parastatal advertised for the post last year and held interviews for the top job, but said all the 40 candidates failed to make the cut.
Mabena indicated that the parastatal was set to engage a local employment agency to hunt for the right person for the job with special focus on the diaspora to entice some of the Zimbabweans outside the country who might be interested in the job.