UNIONISED workers at TAZARA have withdrawn from the Zambia State Insurance Corporation pension scheme.
Crews and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CRAWUZ) president Bevis Silumbe confirmed the development in an interview.
Silumbe explained that the decision by TAZARA employees to withdraw from the ZSIC pension scheme was arrived at following the railway company management’s failure to remit money into the Zambia State Insurance Corporation’s pension scheme account.
“Yes I can confirm that after wide consultations from all employees starting from Kapiri Mposhi to Nakonde, TAZARA workers made a unanimous decision to pull out of the ZSIC [Zambia State Insurance Corporation] pension scheme. This is because TAZARA management has not been remitting money to ZSIC since 2005. Deductions have been reflecting on workers’ payslips indicating that they are remitting to ZSIC; but the company has not been remitting funds into the ZSIC pension scheme account,” Silumbe disclosed. “From inception, TAZARA workers have had two pension schemes. One with ZSIC and another pension scheme with NAPSA. If you look at other companies and government departments since 2000, they have only been remitting pension funds to NAPSA. And so it was found prudent that we pull out of the ZSIC pension scheme.”
When the parliamentary committee on transport and communications toured TAZARA facilities in Kapiri Mposhi, TAZARA managing director Bruno Tandeo Ching’andu confirmed that the railway company had not been remitting pension funds since 2009, thereby making it difficult for the company to pay retirees their terminal benefits.
Commenting on the revelations, Silumbe said there was need for management at the railway company to ensure that they remitted funds to NAPSA and avoid situations where TAZARA was failing to pay its former workers retirement packages.
“It is unfortunate that TAZARA has not been able to remit funds to NAPSA for some years so that those that retire from TAZARA are paid their terminal benefits. The failure by TAZARA management to pay retirement packages to former workers is making TAZARA retirees become destitute,” said Silumbe. “So we can only appeal to the conscious of management at TAZARA that they should, as a matter of urgency, start remitting funds to NAPSA.”