Government assures to settle workers’ arrears
Nchelenge, June 1, ZANIS —– Government has assured workers at the Mweru Water Transport Board in Nchelenge district of Luapula province that it is working out modalities of settling the 87 months salary arrears owed to them.
Mweru Water Transport Board Manager, Charles Lukonde says the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication under which the Board falls has assured the workers that they will soon get their dues.
He told ZANIS in an interview that the workers have in the recent weeks been threatening to go on strike if government does not settle the 861, 000 Kwacha Rebased owed to them for period from October 2005 to December 2012.
Mr Lukonde said he is in receipt of correspondence from Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Permanent Secretary, Julius Shawa that government is in the process of working out part-payment packages for all the eligible employees.
He paid tribute to the government for embarking on paying all the worker’s monthly salaries on time since January this year.
He said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has also managed to align the salaries of the workers at Mweru Transport Board to that of other civil servants, unlike in the past when the workers’ salaries were below of that of their fellow government workers.
And the National Union of Transport and Allied Workers Union (NUTAW) Nchelenge branch has applauded government for improving some of the working conditions for workers at the Mweru Transport Board.
NUTAW Nchelenge Branch Chairperson, Vincent Mwale has also thanked government for aligning the salaries of the workers to that of other civil servants and embarking on paying all the worker’s salaries on time since January this year.
The union has however called on government to consider settling the 87 months salary arrears in full and not in parts, on grounds that the arrears have taken over seven years without being settled.
Mr Mwale explained to ZANIS that despite receiving the same salaries as other government workers, employees at Mweru Water Transport Board are not on government pay roll, adding that the workers get their pay from grants.
He said there is fear among the workers that since they are not on government pay roll, once the September salary increment is in force the arrears may shoot upward.
The NUTAW leader, who was flanked by his Secretary, Barrington Chikalipa appealed to government to seriously consider putting the workers on government pay roll to allay fears that the arrears may increase when salaries are revised in September.
He said putting the workers on government pay roll will also enable them access loans to enable them build houses, start up businesses and buy vehicles.
The Mweru Water Transport Board was established by government to provide quality and affordable water transport across Lake Mweru and the Luapula River for the people living on Kilwa, Chisenga and the surrounding Islands respectively.
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