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For more than 20 years, ex-workers from the former Mozambique-Northern Highway have been claiming compensation. As no one seems inclined to listen to them, they have been beating cans and drums outside the Nampula provincial government offices.
The erstwhile Rodoviária de Moçambique – Norte (ROMON) went bankrupt in 1994. Since then, hundreds of former employees have been claiming compensation and saying that agreements for the payment of salaries are not being honoured by the government.
These former workers have therefore increased the volume of their protests by beating cans and drums outside the offices of the provincial governor of Nampula and the provincial director of Transport and Communications
“We have often been in agreement [with the government] and they have always told us that we are right. Last year we met in the union [the government and the union] and made a new payroll and said they would pay us. Some time later, we confronted the [transport and communications] director, but so far he hasn’t give the green light,” former ROMON driver 45-year-old Profílio Namuínhe says.
Namuínhe says the protesters will not give up their fight for compensation: “We will be here banging our cans. If it is not resolved, we will be there inside the cabinet”, he threatens.
The former workers complain of intimidation by the provincial government security forces. “They called the police, the [Rapid Intervention Force] FIR, to come and threaten us. Once [some demonstrators] were jailed, and they are threatening us more and more,” Namuínhe adds.
Government says issue has been overcome
The Nampula provincial director of transport and communications Francisco Bonzo discounts the protest and accusations of the former ROMON workers. Bonzo says the demonstrators are acting in bad faith.
“We worked with them until there was an outcome from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. We made them come to that conclusion, but they do not agree,” says Bonzo. “The final decision was made in accordance with the opinion of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which says that the former workers’ claims are out of date and lapsed. But, of course, workers can go to the Prosecutor’s Office if they think there are new elements.”
The Ministry of Transport and Communications says it has paid compensation to the former ROMON and Urban Public Transport of Nampula workers. But former ROMON officials say they are not aware of this payment, and that only TPU workers benefited.Source: Deutsche Welle