18 November 2012

Tanzania: Over 800 Rukwa Workers Go on Strike

Sumbawanga — MORE than 800 workers at Aarsleff-BAM International Joint Venture, VOF went on strike.

According to their leaders, the strike will go indefinitely, that they are tired of being harassed and segregated by their employers. Their other complaints against their employers who have been contracted to construct Laela- Sumbawanga (95.31 km) road in Rukwa region includes indiscriminate sackings that do not follow proper procedures and vacancies filled by foreigners.

Employees told the 'Sunday News' at the Aarsleff-BAM's yard at Kyanda village in Sumbawanga District in the region that they are tired of the mistreatment. They maintained that they have vowed to stay inside the Aarsleff-BAM's yard at Kyanda village so as to force their employers to increase their salary package, as the cost of living keeps increasing.

According to the workers, there is a big gap between the monthly salary paid to indigenous workers who get between 150,000/- and 170,000/- while their foreign counterparts with similar experience and qualifications are pocketing between 5m/- and 8m/- per month.

The irate workers without mincing words also called upon the Minister for Works , Mr John Magufuli, to visit the road project which is constructed at tarmac level claiming that it was below standards.

However, efforts by 'Daily News' to get clarification from Aarsleff-BAM 's management on the allegations levelled against them by workers who had gone on strike proved futile, after several attempts to reach Aaersleff - BAM's Road Project Manager, Engineer Jame Aikman.

This follows several similar attempts during the course of the week made by this reporter to reach him through his mobile hand set (0787818889) in vain.

In a related development, Regional Tanroads Manager, Engineer Florian Kabaka presenting progress reports on the construction of road projects at tarmac level in Rukwa region before the Regional Consultative Committee meeting revealed that the rehabilitation of Laela-Sumbawanga road section at tarmac level cost over 97m/- US dollars.

The RCC meeting was chaired by the Rukwa Regional Commissioner, Engineer Stella Manyanya, stating that by July this year 40 per cent of the work had been accomplished. The contractors have requested for additional time to May 31 next year to accomplish the road project.

Following fracas at the Aarsleff-BAM's yard, Tamico's chairperson, Kyanda Yard Branch, Mr Hussein Lingala intervened and pleaded with the workers to call off the strike but they remained defiant as they continued shouting and booing.

Seeing things could blow out of proportions, Mr Lingala hurriedly summoned the Project Supervisor who was later identified by a single name of Martiz who ordered the workers to stay off the premises pending the employer's decisions over the matter, stating: "The decision will be announced tomorrow (Sunday) by the company leadership.

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