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TAZARA workers stage sit-in over salary arrears

UNIONISED workers at the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority have vowed not to return to work until their salaries are paid in full. And operations at TAZARA have been adversely affected following the decision by the workers to down tools.

On Tuesday, unionised workers at TAZARA decided to stage a sit-in following management’s failure to pay them their October and November salaries.

Crews and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Bevis Silumbe, who was found with the protesting workers at Kapiri Mposhi TAZARA premises, confirmed the development in an interview and said the workers would only move cargo and passenger trains from Kapiri Mposhi to Nakonde once their salary arrears reflected in their personal bank accounts.

“The national union executive members from CRAWUZ and WUTAZ [Workers Union of TAZARA] met the Minister of Transport and Communications on 20th August, 2017 where it was agreed that the Zambian government will take up the obligation of paying TAZARA workers on the Zambian side, just like the Tanzanian government has taken up the obligation of paying TAZARA employees on the Tanzanian side. But unfortunately the Zambian government has failed to honour its obligation of paying salaries for two months now,” explained Silumbe.

“And the situation at the moment is that unionised workers at TAZARA from Kapiri Mposhi to Nakonde have resolved to stage a sit-in protest following management’s failure to pay them their October and November salaries. And the unionised workers will only move cargo and passenger trains from Kapiri Mposhi to Nakonde once their two months’ salary arrears reflect in their respective personal bank accounts. If it will take one hundred days for government to release those salaries; unionised workers have vowed to continue with their sit-in protest. The sit-in protest by TAZARA unionized workers is justifiable.”

And CRAWUZ Kapiri Mposhi district chairman Joachim Mulenga said only a sit-in protest would compel the government to honour its obligations of paying salaries to TAZARA workers.

“The latest communication we had with the Ministry of Transport and Communication was about ten days ago. And we indicated to them that if they don’t pay the workers, unionised workers at TAZARA will be left with no option but to stage sit-in protest. Our colleagues on the Tanzanian side get paid their salaries on 25th of every month. But here in Zambia, we have to resort to work stoppages and that is when you will see government responding,” stated Mulenga.

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