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Only ex-employees of Railways who sued get paid

The Railway Workers Union of Zambia has disclosed that only 13% of Zambia Railways (formerly Railway Systems of Zambia) ex-workers who took litigation against government have so far been paid leaving out about 87% who took the dialogue route still waiting for payment of their terminal benefits.

Railway Workers Union of Zambia president Nathan Zulu stated that only 112 (13%) out of the total number of 866 ex-employees have been paid their outstanding retirements benefits and these are the ones that took government to court.

In total number of ex-employees are 866, 112 decided to go the litigation route. 754 employees thought dialogue with government would result in payment. The ones who took government to court are the ones who have been taken care of by the allocation of K3.6 million. And I’m told that all them or almost all them have been paid as these funds were paid to their lawyers.

Zulu stressed that this is where the huge problem is, because the ones who took government to court has received payment before those who chose the dialogue route with government. It basically means that taking the court route is more viable than dialogue.

Not all former Zambia Railways (formerly Railway Systems of Zambia) workers have benefitted from the K30 million released by government to pay off retiree or retrenched workers. The money that has so far been allocated to the former Zambia Railways workers is only K3.6 million, but this is not enough to cater for all the outstanding retirees as the total amount that can cater for all the ex-workers is US$5.1 million

“This is where now the 754 ex-employees who are remaining to be paid now have a genuine complaint. It’s like now, for you to get money from the government, you have to take them to court. This is interpretation that the loyal 754 people are looking at. Because here are the loyal 754 who thought that through dialogue, they would get their money but don’t get it. 112 take the litigation way and take government to court. Which to us is not the first option, it’s like you are rebelling. But you are rewarded for that”, he said.

Furthermore he said that the union is facing a big problem because of other beneficiaries, who are orphans, widows and other vulnerable persons. However, Zulu disclosed that government is undertaking a verification process and fingers are crossed, hoping that this will lead to the loyal ex-employees will be given their share as soon as possible.

Right now what is being done, there are auditors who are doing verification of the remaining 754 ex-employees who have not been paid by the allocation from the ministry of finance. So we hope now with the verification which is being done which is almost complete, will materialise into a payment. That’s the hope of everyone now.

“We have seen that government has already shown that zeal to pay off their ex-employees. They have already shown that gesture by giving those who took them to court, and now with the verification that is being done we will hope to see now the other 754 equally getting their money”, he said.

The genesis of the whole issue started from the cancelling of the concession between the republic of Zambia in 2012 and the then Rail Systems of Zambia which was operated by a South African company. The company was supposed to have cleared its workers but this matter is still under litigation. Those employees who were employed by Railway Systems  of Zambia are now to be paid their money after the cancellation by government in principle.

Source: Zambia Business Times

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