TAZARA workers refuse to resume work

Striking TAZARA workers have said they will continue to spend nights in the Tazara grounds if management does not resolve their five months salary arrears.

But management has said that the challenges that TAZARA is facing are much more complicated and require deeper interventions than just clearing salary arrears.

Crews and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Davies Silumbwe said the striking workers would continue to spend nights in the Tazara ground as long as management took its time to resolve their problems.

Mr Silumbwe said the best solution for the crippled company was for the Zambian Government to end the partnership with the Tanzanian authorities.

He said the insistence by government to remain in the partnership was prolonging the financial problems of TAZARA as there was loss of revenue by the Zambian government.

The union leader said their counterparts in Tanzania received their March and April salaries and that it was from the same monies that the Zambian government had contributed.

But Company head of public relations Conrad Simuchile has said the financial problems at TAZARA were regrettable as all stakeholders were uncomfortable and not happy that employees had gone for five months without receiving their salaries.

“TAZARA needs a more long-term commitments from all stakeholders. Fortunately, the challenges are well articulated and well known and the owners of the company (Tanzania and Zambia) have since agreed to tackle the challenges head on through fresh injection of investment funds.

He said management believed that this unprecedented capital injection by shareholders would go a long way in relieving TAZARA and getting it closer to the footing for sustainability.

Mr Simuchile said with a well maintained track and sufficient numbers of refurbished rolling stock, the company did not envisage a situation where it could fail to generate enough revenue to pay salaries and meet all the other running costs. He said management had appealed to workers to bear patience a little longer as the two shareholding governments prepared to bail out the company.

“Strikes and protests are simply an unnecessary distraction, which make matters even worse for the already crippled company. What is important to note is that every stakeholder is already aware of the problem that the company faces and all efforts are being made by stakeholders to reverse the declining fortunes of TAZARA,” Mr Simuchile said.