Railway workers on a key copper freight line between Zambia and Tanzania have gone on strike, halting operations on the loss-making route, the railway authority said on Tuesday. The Tazara line brings copper from Africa’s two largest producers, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam for export. Much of the copper from both countries is also moved by road.
Cross-border rail operations stopped on Monday after workers went on strike demanding five months of unpaid salaries, Tazara spokesman Conrad Simuchile said in a statement.
“The employees in both regions of Tanzania and Zambia communicated to the authority that they would no longer wait for the promised solutions and opted to down tools,” he said.
Simuchile said the railway transported around 5 400 t of copper in the last six months, well below a target of 41 000 t as operations were hobbled by underfunding.
At its peak between 2004 and 2008, Tazara transported 120 000 t of copperevery six months, he said.
Tazara had been operating at a loss and failed to meet most operational costs, including expenses for locomotive spares, rolling stock, fuel and salaries, he said.(Miningweekly)