Unionized workers at the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) have downed tools to press for payment of five months’ salary arrears.
The workers have since blocked the movement of the recently launched Zambia Railways (ZR) passenger train from New Kapiri Mposhi terminus to Nakonde via the TAZARA Railway line.
Workers Union of TAZARA (WUTAZ) National General Secretary Afrika Mkandawire confirmed the strike action to ZANIS in Kapiri Mposhi yesterday.
Mr Mkandawire said the workers have vowed not to resume work until their demands are met.
“If there is no business, then the workers are willing to be retrenched rather than being subjected to this kind of inhuman treatment of no pay for such a long time. We are tired of promises from management and government on the future of TAZARA,” he said.
Mr Mkandawire challenged TAZARA Managing Director Ronald Phiri to explain why the railway company was no longer moving cargo between Kapiri Mposhi and Dar-es-salaam.
The workers have camped and mounted a human shield along the railway line at New Kapiri Mposhi terminus paralyzing the movement of both the TAZARA and Zambia Railways passenger trains to Nakonde.
“For security and safety reasons, we advise that the Zambia Railways passenger train should not move on the TAZARA Railway line until these issues are addressed between the company management and the workers,” said Mkandawire.
By press time, passengers who had bought tickets were being refunded their money for them to board alternative transport to Nakonde.
Last month, Minister of Works, Supply, Communication and Transport Yamfwa Mukanga commissioned the Zambia Railways passenger service train via the TAZARA Railway line between Kapiri Mposhi and Nakonde.
During the launch, Mr Mukanga assured TAZARA employees that they would be paid their outstanding salary arrears by the end of last month (June). – ZANIS