LUSAKA, March 30 — The Zambian government on Thursday pledged to settle salary arrears of workers at the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) following threats of a strike.
Workers on the Zambian side of the railway firm co-owned with Tanzania have threatened to go on strike following government’s failure to pay them their salaries for the last three months.
Workers Union of TAZARA president Bedwin Malowa told local media that the workers’ patience had run out following government’s failure to settle salary arrears despite numerous efforts to dialogue with the government.
But Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba said the government has mobilized funds to settle the arrears and that there was no need for the workers to go on strike.
The Zambian minister explained that the railway firm has been failing to pay workers on time because it has been unable to raise sufficient revenue due to deteriorating infrastructure.
According to him, the railway firm has lost out in its cargo haulage over the years from a high of 600,000 tons per year to as low as 55,000 tons in 2011.
He however commended the new management for working tirelessly to improve operations resulting in cargo haulage improving slightly to 200,000 tons per year.
The governments of Zambia and Tanzania have pumped in 75 million U.S. dollars in the railway firm in the last five years to help boost operations, he added.