AGAINST the backdrop of President John Magufuli’s sentiments in his May Day commemorative speech yesterday, it is apparent that a new era has dawned on Tanzania’s labour sector.
In his delivery in Moshi, the Head of State reiterated that, the government would strive to uplift workers’ welfare. Measures to that end would include ensuring that employers enforced employment contracts, which, he stressed, were legally binding and not optional.
The pledge was in apparent response to complaints raised earlier by the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania Secretary General, Dr Yahya Msigwa, over the misdeeds of some employers. He accused some investors of favouring foreigners, in terms of employment opportunities and better salaries.
Dr Magufuli also reassured workers – plus their compatriots as a whole – that the fifth phase government would sustain the tempo of tackling evils that had a negative bearing on wananchi.
These include purging the public service of ghost workers and, lately, axing workers with forged academic certificates from the payroll.
To be targeted, too, are holders of invalid professional certificates.
The creation of 52,000 jobs, restoration of increments and promotions, plus attendant higher salaries, would be among the sweet outcomes of the house-cleaning mission. Within the package, too, are initiatives to merge social security funds into two solid entities.
Music to workers’ ears too, are plans for formulating an insurance scheme for easing the plight of workers who are cast into joblessness, as well as pushing for prompt remittances of contributions to social security outfits. Given financial limitations, the government can’t meet workers’ expectations fully.
Yet, since their labour is what largely makes the economy tick, they constitute the government’s most dependable ally that must be reasonably appeased. Under the two-way traffic principle, though, workers are obliged to play their role effectively.
Here-in lies the overriding importance of the Hapa Kazi Tu (Hard work matters most) clarion call. Yet some perceive workplaces as centres for getting salaries and other benefits for little or no work done.
They have also been turned into undercover centres for tax evasion, stinking contracts, phantom payments, unpaid loans, shoddy workmanship of major projects and kickbacks.
Big-time thieves and looters have been adored as super achievers and those who didn’t manipulate openings at workplaces to facilitate grandiose lifestyles, have been mocked as idiotic worshippers of poverty!
Work should be joyous, a source of pride and fairly rewarded – not, NEVER – perceived as punitive and a curse.