THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has been rocked by a labour dispute with employees manning its tollgates after the road company allegedly breached its contractual agreement over salaries and other working conditions.
Sources close to the developments said the contracts of employees switched from Zinara a Intertol, a company manning the country’s tollgates, had not been changed but the workers were shocked to find there is a significant gap between the salaries they are now getting with what they were earning under Zinara.
“We were told that no changes to our conditions of service would take place but to our surprise our pensions have been cut, there is no longer any medical aid and even the salaries are less than those our colleagues are getting at Zinara,” said a close source.
Road construction group, Group Five, which entered into a R1,4billion partnership with Zinara for the planning, design and construction of a new road network for the country owns Intertol, a company which will operate toll gates on the roads stretching from Plumtree to Harare and from Harare to Mutare (a total of 780km).
Intertol was given an eight-year contract under the build, operate and transfer agreement by Zinara where some employees from Zinara were transferred to work under intertol.
However, the discrepancies in salaries are a cause for concern as the employees feel short-changed.
“Zinara cashiers are getting US$600 while our salaries have been reduced to US$500 without pensions and other benefits,” said the source.
The source added: “What it suggests is that for the next eight years we will not have medical aid, pension, a funeral policy and what worsens the situation is that Zinara does not have a works council where we can report our concerns.”
Intertol operations manager George Mufuka refused to comment on the issue saying the person who speaks with the media is currently outside the country.
“There is nothing I can say concerning your query because we have a person who speaks with the media. Unfortunately the person is outside the country and there is nothing we can do,” Mufuka said.
Last year Zinara ran into a dispute with employees manning its tollgates after they refused to sign new contracts following the handover of cash collection duties from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
The close to 300 former Zimra tollgate cashiers refused to sign new contrasts placing them on probation following the takeover of tolling by Zinara.