Maputo — Workers from the now liquidated public bus company in the central Mozambican city of Beira (TPB), have asked the mayor of the city, Daviz Simango, to intervene with the Transport Ministry to ensure that they do not lose their rights.
The government abolished TPB and transferred its assets and workers to two new municipal companies to be set up in Beira, and in the adjacent municipality of Dondo.
The problem with TPB was that it had almost no functioning buses, was grossly overmanned and so ran at a huge loss. As a result, the workers have not been paid for the past five months.
Even with the acquisition by the central government of 15 new buses from China for the two cities, the problem of overmanning remains acute. Beira now has 11 buses and 200 workers (18 workers per bus), while the situation in Dondo is even worse, with 95 workers and just four buses (28 workers per bus).
The workers, in a meeting with Simango, reported in Saturday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, asked him to ensure that their wage arrears are paid, and that what they consider their “acquired rights” are respected.
They cannot have been comforted by Simango's response, He told them they would have to submit to “the new reality” of the municipal bus company, which would not pay “millionaire wages”.
In TPB some management staff had received salaries of 200,000 meticais (about 3,330US dollars) a month. Simango noted that these wages, fabulous by Mozambican standards, had been paid when the company was operating with less than five functioning buses.
Simango urged the bus drivers to take care of the new buses, which will begin to circulate on the streets of Beira and Dondo on Monday.