Nacala Municipal Workers On Strike
Maputo, 5 Jan (AIM) – Some of the employees of the Nacala Port Municipal Council, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, have gone on strike over two months’ unpaid wages, according to a report in the independent newssheet “Carta de Moçambique”.
The paper said that, by Wednesday, the 613 council workers had not received their wages for November and December. The strikers are also demanding the traditional end-of-year bonus, known as “the 13th month”, since it is equivalent to an extra month of the basic wage.
The central government says there is not enough money in the state budget to pay the bonus to all workers in the public administration. However, it seems that this position is not binding on municipalities, since both Maputo and Beira Councils have indicated that they will pay the 13th month.
“We have no wages and there is no information about it”, said one of the strikers. “We know that wages are a sacred matter. We spent Christmas with nothing. This January, we have children desperate, since they do not know if they are going to school or not. We are hearing rumours that we won’t get paid until February.”
The workers sent the Council a warning of their intention to go on strike on Tuesday afternoon, but the matter was not considered by the Mayor of Nacala, Raul Novinte.
In an attempt to calm the workers, the director of the municipal office of Communication and Image, Arlindo Chissale, attempted to speak to the workers, but was received with violence.
“The delay in paying wages is due to the increase in the number of employees, with the recent inclusion of about 100 municipal police officers, and the promotion of others, raising the monthly wages bill from 8.5 million to 13.3 million meticais (from 133,000 to 208,000 US dollars, at the current exchange rate)”, Chissale said.
This strike takes place two weeks after employees of the Maputo Municipal Council (CMCM) also went on strike to demand salary payment based on the Single Wage Table (TSU), which has been in force for the public administration since October.
But there is enormous confusion over which categories of public sector workers are covered by the TSU, and which are not.
Complicating the situation in Nacala is the rivalry between the ruling Frelimo Party and the main opposition party, Renamo. Nacala is one of the municipalities run by Renamo, while the strikers are allegedly Frelimo members.
This led Chissale, interviewed by the newssheet “Mediafax”, to claim that there was “an outside hand” at work, which had “infiltrated” the municipal work force.