Hundreds of trucks loaded with goods destined for Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are marooned at Tunduma border on the Tanzanian side on the Zambia Tanzania border.
This follows a strike action by the drivers pressing for increased salaries and improved conditions of service. A check by the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) at Tunduma in Tanzania this morning revealed that the strike action which has entered day-two today has created terrible congestion on the Tanzanian side.
A ZANIS crew that rushed to scene, today, found several trucks parked at the border post for a stretch of over 6 km along the Tunduma Mbeya road while others had parked anyhow as long as there is a space to park a truck thereby creating a nuisance.
By yesterday no truck had entered Zambia from the Tanzanian side while those coming from Zambia are made to park immediately they cross the Tunduma border.
Mohammed Aziri a truck driver told ZANIS in an interview at Tunduma today that they have agreed as drivers not to resume work until all their grievances are met.
Mr. Aziri said truck drivers are demanding for increased salaries and improved conditions of service.
He said Tanzanian truck drivers were the least paid in the region adding that drivers are also demanding for risk allowance to be paid to each driver before goods are loaded onto the trucks because some of the goods they carry are highly risky though no risk allowance is given to the driver.
Aziri said other drivers in the region like the South Africans are always given risk allowance but wondered why Tanznian transporters can not give the same allowance to its drivers.
The truck driver also complained that the travelling allowance given to them in Tanzanian shillings is not enough because they have to change the money to other currencies depending on their destination.
Another driver Ali Mohammed said the expenditure from the time they load the truck to the time they ofload is too much compared to how much they are given by the owners of the trucks.
Mohammed said they are a lot of charges they have to pay when in transit such as parking fees at Nakonde dry port which has to be paid from their own pocket because the transporter does not give them money to carter for such expenses.
Mohammed said a meeting has been called for this afternoon with various transporters to find the way forward.The drivers have however, warned that they will continue with their strike action until their demands are met in full.
“We will not accept to receive anything short of what we are demanding,” said Mhammed.A clearing agent at Nakonde said the strike action by the Tanzanian truck drivers has put them out of business.
The named agent said it is expected that even revenue collection by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and its counterparts the Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA) will be affected in the coming days if the siatution is not resolved.