Friendship Textile Company (FTC) Ltd employees and stakeholders yesterday told the Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing Dr Abdallah Kigoda the management has been running a similar firm within the area, selling plants machines as scrape and leasing plots to other people.
The workers and stakeholders made the allegations in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the minister’s abrupt visit to the factory in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Ubungo Ward Executive Officer Bonephace Jacob on behalf of Ubungo Legislator John Mnyika accused the company for earning a lot of money through collection of rent from the houses, apartments and stores within the company’s area, which it has leased to business people while the company continued to suffer.
“Some officials are using the company to establish their own businesses which benefit few people. This has been observed in the process of importing commodities from China, which is contrary to the joint venture objective,” he noted.
He blamed the management for paying workers a basic salary of 100,000/- which is against the minimum salary while it is making a lot of money monthly from its lease ventures sources.
The FTC, Acting General manager Baraza Nassoro admitted that the company was leasing houses and warehouses owned by the company as a mechanism to increase sources of income, and that businesses going on at the premises were legal and in the management’s plans.
Nassoro defended the management decision to sell plants and machines, saying: “We announced the tender for selling the plant machines and sold them as used machine at the price agreed between us and the buyer. We didn’t sell them like scrape.”
However, Salum Katanga, the Secretary of Tanzania Union of Industrial and Commercial workers (TUICO ) said priority should be given to paying Urafiki workers, before thinking of selling 49 percent of Tanzania shares to other shareholders.
The workers blamed the government for collaborating with their employer to suppress them.
Reading the workers’ speech TUICO Secretary for FTC branch Florian Makero accused the management for prolonging the case it filed against workers concerning unpaid of their salaries regardless their life difficulties, that they appealed for granted to confiscate their arrears.
Makero added that, the Employment case number 33 of the year 2010 has made clear that FTC workers are owed by the employer for a long time thus requesting the government to settle their claims before it proceeds with the selling of its shares.
The workers also requested the government to allocate 15 percent of shares to workers and the remaining 34 percent to the stock exchange market.
Responding Dr Kigoda promised to follow up on the grievances, saying the problems will be solved because each has its end.
“The ministry aims to see the industry doing well, so we shouldn’t politicise the issue,” he said.
He urged the company to shift to new technologies in order to compete with other countries.
“The FTC management should be transparent in issues that directly touch workers’ interests. This will reduce complaints against the management” he added.
For his part the FTC Board Chairperson Xu Huan Ping said that the
Chinese government will try to find genuine investors for FCT.
“On behalf of China I request you to be patient so that we can look for an investor,” Ping added.
He added that, their country invested USD 200M in the textile which they can’t let go…adding that despite the friendship they made with Tanzania they will keep working with FTC regardless the unpaid amount owed by the government.