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Zambie : Tazara unionised workers walk out

D 24 octobre 2011     H 04:46     A Davies M.M Chanda     C 0 messages

UNIONISED workers at Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) have downed tools to press for the removal of managing director, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and payment of K2.4 billion in outstanding leave pay.

The workers have also appealed to President Michael Sata to quickly intervene and ask the newly-appointed minister of Labour, Sport, Youth and Gender to help resolve their plight.

Workers Union of TAZARA general secretary, Africa Mkandawire told the Times in an interview that the union had directed the workers to withdraw their labour following a meeting between the union and management on October 3 this year which failed to resolve the workers’ plight.

He said the union had asked the workers from Nakonde to Lusaka to stop work in protest against the continued stay of Mr Lewanika who they say was ineffective.

Mr Lewanika, when contacted, refused to comment.

When contacted for a comment TAZARA public relations manager, Conrad Simuchile said management was concerned by reports that the workers had withdrawn their labour demanding the removal of the managing director and a salary increment.

He said management was appealing for calm among the workers and urged them to give management a chance to look into issues they had raised and present them to the relevant organs of the TAZARA structure such as the TAZARA Joint Council and the board of directors.

But Mr Mkandawire said the workers also wanted the deputy managing director, corporation secretary and the regional general manager to be relieved of their duties.

He said the workers did not want the four officials because they were allegedly insensitive to their plight.

“Starting from today, operations will be paralysed on the Zambian side, in fact some workers at some stations have heeded our calls to withdraw labour and they are not working,” he said.

Mr Mkandawire said the workers were also demanding that the company amends its collective agreement so that workers retire at 60 years according to the Tanzanian law which they said the board and management of TAZARA were currently abrogating.

He said the workers were also being mistreated by the management by allegedly giving them tasks which were outside their job descriptions and that they were threatened with dismissal if they failed to do what they were assigned.

Mr Mkandawire claimed that Mr Lewanika had been absent from his Tanzanian office for the last two months and was currently staying in Lusaka.

Davies M.M Chanda

Source from http://www.times.co.zm