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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tanzania–Who will protect foreign investors from abuse of law.






Daily News, Tanzania

Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 04:27 Written by EDITOR


THE problem of mistreatment of local workers working for foreign firms based in Tanzania has resurfaced, which is a clear indication that the
government intervention at this point in time is inevitable.

In October last year, the Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Gaudensia Kabaka, issued a strong warning to the management of some foreign firms, saying the government and the Researchers, Academicians and Allied Workers’ Union had received complaints about mistreatment of local workers and flouting of regulations, including work permits.

The minister had pointed a finger at the International School of Tanganyika, Zantel and Synovate, whom she had visited and noted that there were complaints of discrimination by local workers. Ms Kabaka had warned that
much as foreign firms were helping lessen the problem of unemployment, it would be better to miss that opportunity rather than endure insults and mistreatment.

One would have thought that the minister’s warning would be heeded by all foreign firms. The problem, however, is far from over. Last week, Tanzanian lecturers at the Kampala International University (KIU) accused their management of discrimination. They have faulted KIU’s method of payments, citing delays, lack of salary slips, work contracts and inconsistency in the current salaries. The lecturers are also demanding freedom to form their own trade union.

We think that the ministry and the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) have to step in at KIU before it is too late. Several issues will have to be solved to ensure there is no disruption of lecturers. Of utmost concern is
why are Tanzanian lecturers not given the same treatment as their foreign counterparts and how much does this affect their performance in a college surviving on meagre earnings from struggling parents?

In fulfilling its role as a friendly nation, Tanzania has welcomed foreign investors to benefit from a number of opportunities. The aim is to ensure that all partners benefit and not to create room for discrimination and malpractices. More important, in the good spirit of the East African cooperation, whose leaders are striving to build a federation, it would be wise to complement their efforts. Our hope is that equal treatment of workers, irrespective of their nationalities will guide firms operating in Tanzania, a country known all over the world for championing the rights of human beings.

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