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Relief for NRZ pensioners

by Staff reporter
06 Jul 2021 at 09:33hrs | Views
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe has been ordered to pay pension increases to 175 former employees who were dismissed on July 31, 2015 at rates of between 20% and 100%.

Most of the affected pensioners have been getting as little as $28 in monthly pensions.

Innocent Netanyahu and 174 others, who worked at NRZ for between 10 years and 40 years, were among the 468 employees who had their contracts terminated on July 31, 2015 on three months' notice in terms of the common law, and the provisions of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01.

Since then, the retrenched workers have been getting an average pension of US$10, while others got only $28, prompting Netanyahu and 174 others to approach the Railway Employment Council for remedy.

The pensioners are expecting monthly payouts of between $8 000 and $16 000. Before the multi-currency system, they were getting US$500.

The matter was heard last Thursday by the Railway Employment Council's designated agent Washington Chitima, who ruled that the NRZ should pay the aggrieved former employees their dues.

"It is my finding that the respondent is obliged to pay the complainants pension pay-out increases as stipulated by the National Railways of Zimbabwe Contributory Pension Fund (NRZCPF),"Chitima ruled.

"The respondent must pay complainants all the pay-out increases made by the NRZCPF to other pensioners from 2019 to date which are, 100% October 2019, 100% January 2020, 50% June 2020, 5% July 2020, 90% September 2020 backdated to January 2020 and 20% April 2021. The respondent can deduct the increases it has made so far to the complainants and pay the balance thereof."

Submissions made to the designated agent were that the 175 former workers were members of the NRZCPF.

In terms of the NRZCPF rule book, such members on termination of their contracts become pensioners.

They noted that the NRZ was responsible for funding their pension payments in terms of rule 68 of the NRZCPF rule book, though the actual payment of those pensions is done at NRZCPF.

The former workers had argued that any pension increases awarded by NRZCPF to pensioners should be automatically paid to them too.

The pensioners, however, submitted that NRZ committed unfair labour practice by failing to award the affected pensions increases as awarded by NRZCPF from the time they went on pension, albeit through retrenchment.

The rail company said once they reached 60 years, the NRZCPF would take over the funding and process their pensions, hence it was not its obligation to award pension increases.

Source - newsday
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