The Efficacy of Trade Union in Settling Labor Disputes: Law and Practice

Topics: Trade union, Labour relations, Employment Pages: 30 (9745 words) Published: January 8, 2013


This paper aims at examining the efficacy of trade unions in settling labour disputes in Tanzania: Law and Practice. The establishment of trade unions is to administer workers’ welfare, but ever since workers go on swimming on conflicting interest with their employers in vain. A trade union for an average person signifies the association of workers that is engaged in securing certain economic benefits for its members. It tries to advance the social, political and cultural interests of its members through collective actions. According to Chambers Encyclopedia, a trade union is an association of wage earners or salary earners formed primarily for the purpose of collective action for the forwarding or defence of its professional interests. In view of above definitions, trade unions have their interest despite they are established to protect workers’ interest.

Generally, trade unions are voluntary organizations of workers formed to promote and protect their interests by collective action in working place. The composition of trade union comprises of non-supervisory or non-managerial employees including part-time workers (employees employed not for permanent in a particular plant rather visiting in the working place for special circumstances). The union leader as elected by members is the intermediary, generally between the union and the employer . Where a union member feels something has gone wrong, or an unfair labour practice has been committed, the union leader is usually the first to contact the employer and discuss the issue, hopefully having it solved. The branch unions established in working place are part and parcel of a larger union network.

The view of establishing trade unions originates from Western countries notably European and Asian countries. Workers cried for their interest from the point that employers gained much benefit from them. This came with the increase of industries and expansion of means of production . It is due to the controversial interests between the employer and the employee in their contractual employment. Ever since trade unions were established for representing workers in their working premises. Tanzania experienced the establishments of trade unions in 19th centuries when the Motor Drivers’ Union was formed in Moshi demanding for high wages and working conditions , however the union proved unsuccessful at earliest stage due to ideological differences between the members. Before independence , the established trade unions lacked enough force to handle matters pertaining to workers . For example, in 1955 TFL failed to organize a strike due to unfair dismissal of three waiters of the Kinondoni Hotel on ground that, the strikes was unconstitutional.

Few years after independence trade unions gained autonomous, they lose strength within a short period since their autonomous was regarded as a threat to the new nationalist government and their ruling parties. For example, the rights of trade unions in demanding for workers rights such as organizing labour strikes was regarded as undesirable and that such activities threatened national peace, security and unity of the new nations, so some of the trade unions were abolished or were put under strong State control . This was witnessed during the struggle for independence where the relationship between TANU and TFL and other trade unions was so oppressive. Such that TFL enjoyed relative autonomy but soon after independence began to deteriorate, while TFL and other unions wanted to maintain their autonomy as trade unions and carry out their activities for the benefits of their members, TANU and the government began to differ on a number of policy issues such as:- a)The Africanization of the civil service

b)The perpetuation or abolition of the East African High Commission. Two factors contradicted the establishment of trade unions. The first was the...
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