The Tanzania Times Newspaper
A Publication of the Eastern Africa News Network, the Times of Tanzania is one of the leading media outlets in the Sub-Saharan African Region

Apprentice Builders in Tanzania form coalition

Apprentice Workers undertaking Construction jobs on building sites are now coming together in setting up their own associations to safeguard their rights, it has been observed in Arusha.

Nearly 600 such builders gathered in Arusha to set stage for the expected ‘Arusha Apprentice Builders Association,’ which may emerge from their maiden seminar organized to train the workers on their rights, health and future prospects.

The Arusha District Commissioner, Arusha District Commissioner, Felician Mtahengerwa who officiated the meeting, pointed out that unless apprentice workers hired at major construction sites come together in unity, their future will be doomed.

“Some large scale constructors, especially foreigners have always been mistreating local Tanzanians working at their building sites, sometimes even beating them up to serious injuries,” the District Commissioner stated.

He also reminded the workers that, once they manage to hatch their union, it will be easy to negotiate better pays and favourable working conditions.

On his part the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) Inspector, Frank Paul Mnyanyi said the number of cases of accidents at work places, especially construction sites, has been going down due to a series of training sessions and follow-ups.

“But it will get better once they create their own association, a platform through which we will be able to reach out to most of the apprentice workers, most of whom are usually working anonymously,” Mnyanyi added.

The inaugural apprentice construction workers’ meeting in Arusha was organized by the Magic Builders International Limited.

The firm’s Director of Investments, David Barongo said so far, they have managed to reach out to nearly 25,000 such apprentice workers in seven regions of Tanzania.

“We have conducted a series of training to apprentice labourers in among other regions, Mbeya, Mwanza, Dodoma, Iringa, Morogoro and now Arusha,” he revealed.

According to Barongo, apprentice workers in all other regions have managed to create their own associations and conducted interim leaderships, therefore after the Northern Zone’s seminar, it is expected that Arusha members will also form their own.

One of the apprentice construction workers who attended the training, Omar Hassan Mbwana said their new association will not only benefit its members, but also their clients.

“Instead of site owners making trips to their construction projects to monitor the workers, they can now deal with them through their association which will also handle complaints, harmonize pricing and solve arising problems,” said Mbwana.

A lady painter, Juliana Daniel hopes that through the new association maybe more women will join the profession as many are afraid to try, thinking it is a job meant for men only.

“I suffered a lot when venturing into the painting profession, site owners and contractors were not ready to hire a female painter, a few who wanted to give me a chance, demanded proof of previous projects,” she stated.