LUSAKA, Zambia (PANA) - The Zambian authorities Friday threatened to sack striking unionised Zambia employees of the Tanzania/Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) whose work-stoppage since Tuesday over a salary dispute has paralysed operations.
The country's Labour Minister, Newstead Zimba, said in a statement over state radio that government considered the strike illegal since no labour dispute had been declared between the Railway Workers Union of Zambia (RWUZ) and the TAZARA management.
The majority of TAZARA workers, particularly rolling stock staff, are classified as essential workers under Zambian labour law. The minister appealed to the striking workers to resume work immediately or risk being sacked.
The 2,000 workers went on strike over demands for a 150 percent salary increment, across the board. They are said to have rejected a five percent pay rise offered by management.
Another strike over the same demand was averted after the union agreed to give management time to study the workers' grievances. The workers earn an average of USD 50 per month.
Both TAZARA and Zambian Transport Ministry officials said Friday that the work stoppage had caused substantial losses to the freight industry.
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