TRAIN services by the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) are expected to resume today, thanks to government’s intervention to the impasse that has gripped the authority since Monday last week.
The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Transport, Dr Shaaban Mwinjaka, told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam that the government held meeting with Tanzania Railway Workers Union (TRAWU) and TAZARA administration and agreed on the resumption of services as the government assumed responsibility to settle some of the issues raised.
Dr Mwinjaka said the government of Tanzania agreed to settle salaries for April and February, while Zambia is expected to settle March and May salaries.
He said the meeting scheduled for last Friday did not take place. It is understood that Zambia has requested for the meeting to be held at the end of this month.
“We made remarkable progress yesterday (Saturday) after meeting with the workers union and the TAZARA management and agreed that work should resume tomorrow (today) as we settle the issue of salaries for February and April,” Dr Mwinjaka explained.
He added that the government felt that waiting until the end of the month to start resolving the issues will be catastrophic to the public, as it would hamper train services hence the decision to settle the February and April salaries.
“The Zambia government on the other hand will settle the March and May salaries,” the PS said. He noted that in scheduled meeting, Tanzania will get a chance to know why the March salaries have not yet been availed by Zambia.
The railways’ workers downed their tools last week, demanding unpaid salaries for February, in some cases and for March and April 2014, stressing that they will continue with the strike until their salary backlog is settled.
Meanwhile, TAZARA has ordered 18 new passenger coaches and spare parts from after government intervention China, valued at Chinese Yuan 60 million (approximately 9.52 million US dollars) to be delivered by October, next year.
TAZARA signed the 15bn/- contract with the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Commpany (CCECC), which was appointed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to co-ordinate implementation of all Chinese-supported projects at TAZARA.