Cheery workers extol Samia

THE Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) has applauded President Samia Suluhu Hassan for commitment to improve workers’ welfare in the country.

Tumaini Nyamhokya, president of TUCTA, told the ‘Daily News’ on Tuesday that they are grateful for the President’s May Day speech because it has addressed most of their demands.

“We don’t have much to say as we have submitted our demands and received a positive response, thanks to President Samia’s commitment to improving workers’ welfare,” said the TUCTA president.

“We submitted numerous requests and we have received responses on salary increases and teaching allowances.We appreciate the response from the May Day event. Aside from what she promised to work on, the President has done a lot,” he added.

Addressing the nation on International Workers’ Day at the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro Region on Monday, President Samia announced the reinstatement of the mandatory annual increment, promotions and a raise in the workers’ allowances.

She said that last year, the government increased public servant’s salaries by 23.3 per cent but not every worker benefited adequately from the rate. The goal, she said, was to boost those with minimum wages and others were touched as per the rise in percentages.

“Aside from increasing the allowances, the government aims to continue carrying out promotion accelerations and re-categorisation of workers’. The biggest of all is to reinstate mandatory annual increments, which had stalled for a long time…payment will be effective from this year,” said Dr Samia amid cheers from thousands of workers who packed the venue.

The Head of State insisted the strength and resilience of the nation were dependent on its workforce, which was doing a very good job of building the nation, stressing that the government values all efforts invested by the country’s workers’.

Reacting, the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) Secretary General Maganga Japhet hailed President Samia for caring and appreciating civil servants and all workers in the country.

“We, as TTU and all teachers, are extremely happy and we congratulate our president because she has answered almost 60 per cent of worker’s requests. This is a very caring and loving heart she has, we pray for her and wish her long life,” he said.

Economist-cum Investment Banker Dr Hildebrand Shayo said that Dr Samia reintroduction of mandatory annual salary increase is timely especially when one places Tanzania on all good things emerging from its economic assessment and performance.

“It is well known that money isn’t only thing that keep employees working be it public or private sector at their job and it isn’t always the key component in making an employee move from public to private sector or private to public, but it is certainly an important factor and one what shouldn’t be undermined or ignored,” he said.

Dr Shayo said increment will significantly help workers lead a decent life, overtime have a safe place to live and importantly help them feed their families and enjoy things other than just the bare necessities that are slowly being eroded by inflation.

“If employees both at public or private are doing a good job, which is valuable and accepted as valuable, a pay rise each financial year rather than just lining the pockets of shareholders is important. This also shows that the government believes in equality and helps its workforce to feel like the valuable asset that they are,” he said.

Dr Shayo said to individuals, a higher increment tends to increase productivity by bringing in more focus on the job other than having a divided mind outside their formal work.

He added “Importantly when it is guaranteed there is a yearly increment, this can help to keep talents within that lead to a high performance and productivity.  And also act as talent attraction especially those with intention to truly serve the public sector.”

Chairperson of the Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) branch of the Researchers, Academicians and Allied Workers Union (RAAWU) Gloria Tesha lauded the government for the latest move.

However, she cautioned that it is important for employees to work hard, saying this will motivate employers about salary increases because better salaries come with responsibility.

“Until now, we have never had a salary problem in Tanzania, but I ask the employers of both the public and private sector to continue valuing employees as an important ingredient for the development of the country,” she stated.

Leokadia Mhagama, a teacher at Mkamba Secondary School in Kimanzichana Ward of Mkuranga District, Coast Region said that every teacher should receive better remuneration and allowances for him or her to effectively fulfill responsibilities.

If teachers receive a better package, she explained, it will certainly motivate them to give their best. She also lauded the government for providing them with working tools.

The tablets given to teachers, according to Ms Mhagama, were among the things that made teachers happy and inspired them to work harder. “I know for others it may be a minor thing, but for us, this is very huge,” she said.

She added “We applaud President Samia’s efforts to build classrooms, but many schools still do not have enough houses for teachers, so that is one of the challenges and it is important to find a solution to increase the morale of teachers, especially those who live far from schools.”

During the national-level May Day celebrations, the Secretary General of TUCTA Mr Hery Mkunda applauded the President’s efforts for continuing to open up the country, a factor that has led to more trade and investment opportunities, thereby creating jobs and other income-generating opportunities for the people.

He expressed TUCTA’s commitment to ensure their advocating for efficiency and productivity among all sectors for national development and boost in the economy.

“We appreciate you responding to our request by increasing the salary by 23.3 per cent for minimum wages, while other levels were slightly touched…it’s our humble request that this time the increment touches other groups,” he said.

Mr Mkunda recognised the government’s efforts to increase allowances, carry out promotions and increase the incomes of workers’.

In obtaining decent jobs, he requested the government to support the improvement of the Labour Unit, which is under the Prime Minister’s Office and currently facing a shortage of staff and working tools.

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