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`Investors violating workers` basic rights`

12th December 2012
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The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) has said that investors in the tourism sector in Zanzibar have been violating workers' rights by sending them on leave without pay.

CHRAGG Commissioner Zahor Khamis made the remarks when presenting a topic on human rights at a seminar held in Zanzibar recently as part of festivities to mark the World Human Rights Day.

He said workers in tourist hotels in Zanzibar were often sent on leave without pay after each end of the tourism season, which, he said, was contrary to the Labour Act, 2005.

He claimed that about 95 per cent of the workers in tourist hotels were from outside the isles, thus causing inconvenience to them when they retained by the hotels without being paid.

He urged the responsible organs for human rights to ensure that the workers’ rights were granted equally, including holiday pay, treatment and other benefits as specified in the Act.

The tourism sector in Zanzibar employs a substantial number of people, with an estimate of 12,000 employees, and accounts for 25 per cent of the national income while it risks in 83 per cent of foreign currency.

With regard to the right to work, the commissioner said Zanzibar Municipal Council has been violating the right during its operations to remove petty traders without offering them alternative areas in which to conduct their businesses.

He said petty traders, most of whom are youths, were finding it hard to realize their dreams of a better future owing to the difficulties they encountering at the hands of ZMC officials.

Zahor said children's rights were also being violated in Zanzibar because many schools lacked toilet and water services.

For his part, secretary of the Organisation of Hotel and Home Attendants Mzee Yunusi Haji said it was time the government reviewed the Zanzibar National Social Security Fund Act, 2005 because it denies members access to their savings until they attain 55 years or retire after reaching 60 years.

He said many workers resigned or had their contracts terminated before reaching 55 years, thus not able to benefit from their savings.

Festivities to mark Human Rights Day were led by chairman of the Centre for Legal Aid in the isles Prof Chris Peter Maina.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN