Why Tanzania workers waited for this May Day

Sunday May 01 2022
Mei Mosi pic

The national May Day celebrations is taking take place at the Jamhuri Stadium in the country’s capital of Dodoma with President Samia Suluhu Hassan as the chief guest.

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania civil servants are anxiously waiting to hear the announcement of salary rise and new promotions during on May Day celebrations today.

They have survived since 2016 without salary increment despite rising costs of living driven by inflation and global socio-political and economic factors. Workers also have expectation to have their welfares improved in areas like promotion, payment of arrears and the working environment.

The national May Day celebrations is expected to take place at the Jamhuri Stadium in the country’s capital of Dodoma with President Samia Suluhu Hassan expected to be the chief guest. Speaking to The Citizen, Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) secretary general Hery Mkunda said there was every reason for the government to consider salary increase to public workers.

“Apart from the government’s failure to increase workers’ pay since 2016, the economy has made life more expensive,” he said in a telephone interview.

Mr Mkunda said the 2022 May Day celebrations theme is centered on salary increments and improvement of workers welfare for the job to continue, noting that their hope was high for the Head of State to fulfil the promise she made last year.

Addressing thousands of workers at the CCM Kirumba in Mwanza in 2021, President Hassan who graced the event, said the government couldn’t afford a pay rise last year, but promised good news this year.

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To give relief to Tanzanian workers, the Head of State said her government had reduced numerous taxes and levies deducted from their salaries.

“It is my belief that these measures will provide relief to workers in the country. But, I assure you that next year, I will come with a great package of salary increments,” said President Hassan last year.

Apart from the promise, Mr Mkunda said implementation of most of the issues tabled by workers before the President was another area giving them hope ahead of today’s celebrations. “We would like to hear the Head of State addressing other issues including promotion of public servants, payment of arrears and filling employment gaps in the public sector,” he said. However, he commended the government for announcing 40,000 employment opportunities amidst a huge shortages especially in the health and education sectors.

The minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Employment, Youths and the Disabled), Prof Joyce Ndalichako, said workers and Tanzanians should appear in large numbers at the Jamhuri Stadium today and listen to the president’s speech.

“Regarding the pay rise, I shouldn’t speak for her. Workers and Tanzanians should wait for the President’s Workers Day speech tomorrow (today),” said Prof Ndalichako on phone.

She commended the Head of State for fulfilling promises she made last year in the areas of promotion, payment of salary arrears and recruitment. “The government has addressed pension payment delays to its workers through issuance of Sh2.17 trillion to the Public Service Social Security Fund in December last year,” she said.

“The amount being contribution that was supposed to be paid by workers since 1999. The move has been a huge relief to the fund that can now service beneficiary’s benefit within 60 days of retirement,” she added.

Regarding the shortage of staff especially in the health and education sectors, Prof Ndalichako said the ministry of state in the President’s Office (Public Service and Good Governance) was doing the manpower assessment.

She said the assessment was aimed to analyze the number of active workers and working places in order to establish the actual ratio and distribution.

“Its true that we have deficit of staffs in the sectors of health and education, but, we are thankful to the government for the recently announced employment opportunities of 32,000 workers,” she said.

“However, of all announced posts, 6,000 has been given to the education sector while health sector gets 8,000 posts. Hopefully, the new posts and the ongoing audit will provide assurance of close and even distribution of workers in the public sector,” she added.

Prof Ndalichako believes that after the manpower audit and recruitment of 32,000 workers in the 2021/22 budget, the government will announce other employment in the 2022/23 Fiscal Year to continue providing relief to sectors overwhelmed with workers shortage.

The Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) executive director, Ms Suzanne Ndomba-Doran declined to comment, saying her speech containing different issues would be read during the celebrations today.