Trade Union seeks more time in salary negotiations with government

Wednesday July 27 2022
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Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) president Tumaini Nyamhokya (third left) leads fellow leaders to gesture for a continued struggle in unifying workers of Tanzania to stand for their rights after their meeting with government senior officials in Dodoma yesterday. PHOTO | RAMADHAN HASSAN

By Sharon Sauwa

Dodoma. Representatives from the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) yesterday asked for more time for consultations in their salary increase grievances against the government.

The issue in question involves a salary rise, including a rise in minimum wage for public servants by 23.3 percent as per Labour Day pledge.

However, with little awareness on how the raises were calculated, some civil servants -- mostly those with high salaries -– ended up receiving minimal raises in their July payments.

The government -- which estimates to collect a total of Sh28.018 trillion domestically to partly finance a budget of Sh41.48 trillion for the financial year 2022/23 -- will spend a staggering Sh9.83 trillion on salaries alone.

That notwithstanding, a total of Sh15 trillion will be required to finance development projects.

And, when the government met with Tucta representatives yesterday, the latter asked for more time to consult.

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Briefing journalists yesterday, the chief government spokesperson, Mr Gerson Msigwa, said apart from Tucta representatives, the meeting also involved the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Public Service Management and Good Governance), Ms Jenista Mhagama, her deputy, Mr Deogratius Ndejembi, as well as permanent secretaries and the deputies in the ministry.

“Today was the first day of the discussions and Tucta sought more time of consultations before engaging the government on a later day,” said Mr Msigwa.

He said the government was ready to engage in negotiations with Tucta as soon as they (Tucta) complete their internal consultations.

The government, he said, would not rush Tucta into arriving at a decision, noting that they have all the time to effectively deliberate on the matter before returning to the government.

“We would not like to rush them so when they finish they will inform us and after that we will meet them to listen to what came up from the discussion,” he said.

He said at the moment all that was being recommended was to wait and that resolutions would be made in good faith, noting that the government’s intention was to build cordial relations with workers and therefore, there would be nothing to hide.

Tucta president Tumaini Nyamhokya said yesterday’s meeting was all about informing the government that workers were dissatisfied with the procedures used in increasing salaries.

“We trust government leaders do listen and consider our views as we continue with the discussions,” he said.

He said expectations were that the salary raises would be felt by workers across all income brackets, noting however that those with high wages were dissatisfied with what they saw in their accounts for July salaries.

He said so far they have managed to deliver their arguments to the government, noting that the extra time required was to put them in writing before handing them over [to the government] for further steps to be taken.

Mr Nyamkohya said employees were unhappy with the raises especially considering that it has taken the government seven years to jerk their salaries. “It is something that is really surprising to increase someone’s salary by a net pay of Sh8,000 and this happens to be the person who has not had an increase for seven years,” he said.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of State in the President’s Office (Public Service and Good Governance), Dr Laurean Ndumbaro, was on Sunday quoted as saying that normally, salaries raises are meant to reduce the gap between the highly paid and those on the minimum wage category.

“Salary increases are not done on constant basis. The higher the salary, the lower the percentage increases because the government’s goal is to elevate those on the minimum wage category to improved levels. As you do so, the percentage rise for those with better salaries also goes down,” he said.