ZIMBABWE United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) has expressed mixed feelings over the unpaid COVID-19 risk allowances despite being listed as essential services in the Statutory Instrument 94 of 2020.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that all essential workers must be paid the COVID-19 risk allowances and  government workers are still receiving the allowance.

A reliable source from ZUPCO told Business Mail that they have never received the promised allowances since the onset of the lockdown.

In an interview with Douglas Seremani Chairperson of ZUPCO’s Workers’ Committee conveyed his complains over the unpaid COVID-19 risk allowances.

“Regardless of the president’s directive for frontline workers to receive COVID-19 risk allowances, there hasn’t been any action from our management, we haven’t received any money for the past 7 months,” Seremani said.

COVID-19 risk allowance framework was set to motivate workers to report for duty despite the threats of the virus and the employers had a duty to provide adequate measures to deal with emergencies associated to COVID-19.

“The only measure that the company took was conducting rapid tests to all employees and  nearly 75% of the employees were tested positive prompting the company to carry out Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and those that had contracted Coronavirus were sent home for isolation. ZUPCO management did not make any effort to foot bills or assist those employees,” he said.

“The only information that has been relayed to the workers is that our management has applied for the Covid-19 risk allowances however, we do not know where, how and when the applications are going to be processed and the workers are not happy since most of them have been sick with Coronavirus,” Seremani added.

Justin Chidanhika, vice chairman of the workers’ committee also expressed his concerns over the unsettled COVID-19 risk allowances, said the management must settle their allowances from April 2020 to date.

“The probability of ZUPCO workers contracting the virus is very high because we are at the forefront but to our surprise nothing is coming out. In the event that the assumed application has been granted we would like our full compensation from April to date,” Chidanhika said.

Civil servants are receiving the COVID-19 allowances of US$75 although they are delays.

ZUPCO Chief Executive Officer  Evaristo Madangwa did not respond to questions sent to him until the time of publication.

Amanda Jojo – Business Mail