Railway Workers end two-week Strike

At least some good news from the African Strike Fronts: The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) resumed operations yesterday after more than 1 000 Tanzanian workers ended a two-week strike, the company said. The strike over unpaid wages by 1 067 workers crippled operations at the loss-making railway, which is used to transport copper from Zambia to Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port for export. TAZARA said it suffered losses of more than US$ 1.4m from the disruption. Spokesperson Conrad Simuchile said salary arrears were cleared after the Zambian and Tanzanian governments made payments totalling more than US$ 6m.

The Chinese-built (sic!) railway has suffered from falling cargo traffic and years of inadequate investment by the two state shareholders. Simuchile said that over the past eight months revenue had averaged $1.53m per month against an estimated average expenditure exceeding $2.5m, of which salaries alone constituted an average of US$ 1.3m. The 1 860 km railway had previously threatened to sack all striking workers in Tanzania if they did not return to work, saying their salary arrears were being resolved.

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