THE Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has signed an agreement with a new workers' body that has been formed to represent the interests of workers in Tanzania.
TAZARA spokesperson, Conrad Simuchile said in a statement that the TAZARA Workers' Union - Tanzania (TAWUTA) effectively became the fourth union to be recognized officially as representing the workers when the Acting Managing Director, Ronald Phiri and the Union's Chairman, Johansen Lwekamwa signed a recognition agreement last week.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Phiri said that in view of the labour laws permitting the existence of multiple unions in an industry, he was duty-bound to accept and welcome an additional union that has been legally registered to represent the interests of the workers.
"I, therefore, take this opportunity to welcome TAWUTA and look forward to positively interacting with the Union for the betterment of TAZARA," Eng. Phiri said.
The Acting Managing Director said that since the new workers' body was a TAZARA-specific union, he hoped that it would contribute more significantly on TAZARA-specific issues for the benefit of the organisation.
TAWUTA's first Chairman, Lwekamwa said that workers were happy that they had a union to deal entirely with TAZARA-specific issues, in an apparent reference to their decision to break away from the Tanzania Railway Workers Union (TRAWU), which represents interests of workers in both TAZARA and the Tanzania Railways Limited.
The leadership of TAWUTA comprises Lwekamwa, Equipment Controller (Chairman), Waziri Bakari, Locomotive driver (Vice Chairman), Benedict Mwakyusa, Statistician (General Secretary) and Abdallah Sumbizi (Vice Secretary).
The formation of TAWUTA implies that the workers of TAZARA, numbering about 2,800, now have four unions to represent their interests, two in each regional half of Tanzania and Zambia.
Initially, all Tanzanian workers were represented by TRAWU whilst those working in Zambia were represented by the Workers Union of TAZARA, Zambia (WUTAZ).
In Zambia, a second union, the Crews and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CRAWUZ) was formed in 2012 after breaking away from WUTAZ.