Worker Rights in Tanzania

Posted on October 8, 2010 by The Counter Human Trafficking Blog in Tanzania

report on Human rights in Tanzania originaly posted here
a. The Right of Association
The union and Zanzibar governments have separate labor laws. Workers on the mainland had the right to form and join independent trade unions. Trade unions must consist of more than 20 employees and are required to register with the government. A trade union or employers’ association must register within six months of its establishment; failure to register is a criminal offense. The registrar in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth Development exerts significant power over trade unions, including the right to deregister unions if overlap exists within an enterprise. Unions must submit financial records and a membership list to the registrar annually. The registrar can suspend a trade union if it determines that the union violated the law or endangered public security. Association with an international trade union requires government approval.
As of 2005 (the most recent data available), approximately 27 percent of the formal sector work force were members of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania, the sole labor federation. In the agricultural sector, the country’s single largest employer, an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the work force was unionized.
Mainland workers have the legal right to strike, and employers have the right to a lockout after complying with certain legal requirements and procedures. These rights are qualified according to the law. For example, all parties to a dispute may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate, and neither party may then engage in a strike or a lockout until that process has been completed. In October 2008 the government was granted a court injunction to stop hundreds of thousands of teachers from striking over unpaid salaries and allowances. A judge ordered the teachers and the government into arbitration before allowing the teachers to go on strike. In September the government stated it was verifying and auditing teacher claims for salaries and allowances, but planned to make payment in October. The audit was completed in late October and teachers began receiving their payments.
A lawful strike or lockout is protected and does not constitute a breach of contract, nor can it be considered a criminal offense. An employer may not terminate the employment of an employee for participating in a lawful strike or terminate an employee who accedes to the demands of an employer during a lockout.
The law restricts the right to strike when to do so would endanger the life and health of the population. Workers in certain sectors (water and sanitation, electricity, health services and associated laboratory services, firefighting, air traffic control, civil aviation telecommunications, and any transport services required for the provisions of these services) are restricted from striking. Workers in other sectors may also be subject to this limitation.
The labor law in Zanzibar applies only to private sector workers. Zanzibar government workers do not have the right to strike. They are not allowed to join mainland-based labor unions. The Zanzibar labor law requires a union with 50 or more members to be registered and sets literacy standards for trade union officers. An estimated 40 percent of the Zanzibar workforce is unionized. In collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Zanzibar government worked to redraft its labor laws during the year but legislation had not been finalized by year’s end.
b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
The law provides for collective bargaining in the private sector, and workers and employers practiced it freely during the year. In the public sector, the government sets wages administratively, including for employees of state-owned organizations.
On the mainland disputes are regulated and resolved by mediation through the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration. If the mediator fails to resolve a dispute within 30 days of referral, or any longer period agreed upon in writing by both parties, either party to the dispute may give notice of its intention to commence a strike or lockout. If the mediation fails to resolve the complaint, the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration may appoint an arbitrator to decide the dispute, or it may be referred to the labor court.
In practice many private sector employers adopted antiunion policies or tactics. On the mainland the law prohibits discriminatory activities by an employer against union members; however, in August an ILO consultant told the Daily News that trade union rights were affected by antiunion discrimination and limitations on the right to strike. In some instances employers did not allow unions to recruit at their work sites and threatened employees interested in joining a union with termination. These cases were reportedly resolved informally. The law requires employers found guilty of antiunion activities to reinstate workers.
On the mainland there are 23 export processing zones (EPZs); seven of them are developer licensees and the rest are operator licensees. In Zanzibar there are three free economic zones, which are treated as EPZs. There are no special laws or exemptions from regular labor laws in EPZs.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor; however, there were reports that such practices, especially by children, occurred. In some instances, girls from rural areas were forced to do domestic work, while boys were sent to work on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector. The IOM reported that men from Malawi were forced to work in the fishing industry.
The law allows prisoners to work without pay on construction and agriculture projects within the prison so that the prison can be more self-sufficient. Prisoners were also used as labor on projects outside of the prison, such as road repair and government construction projects.
d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
The law prohibits the exploitation of children in the workplace. Under the law the minimum age for contractual employment is 14. Children may be employed only to do light work unlikely to harm their health and development or attendance at school. Children under the age of 18 may not crew on a ship or be employed in a mine, factory, or any other worksite where working conditions may be hazardous.
The law establishes criminal penalties for employers of child labor as well as forced labor; violators can be fined an amount not exceeding Tanzanian shillings 4,680,000 ($3,500), imprisonment for one year, or both. Although the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth Development reportedly conducted inspections and issued warnings to violators of child labor statutes, there were no reported child labor cases brought to court during the year. Likewise, Zanzibar’s Ministry of Labor, Youth Development, Women, and Children did not take legal action related to child labor. A shortage of inspectors resulted in limited enforcement of child labor provisions, and child labor continued to be a problem. According to the Integrated Labor Force Survey of 2006, approximately 19 percent of children ages five to 17 years were engaged in child labor on the mainland. In Zanzibar an estimated 8 percent of children ages five to 17 were engaged in child labor.
Child labor was also widespread in Zanzibar; children were used in fishing, clove picking, domestic labor, small businesses such as selling cakes, and commercial sexual exploitation near tourist attractions.
On April 23, Rahma Mshangama, the principal secretary in the Zanzibar Ministry of Employment, Youth, Women, and Children, reported that 2,000 children were rescued from child labor in the fishing and seaweed farming industries on the islands between 2007 and 2009. The Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth Development was responsible for enforcement of labor laws, together with the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration and the labor court. The ministry continued conducting seminars on child labor in different parts of the country.
Several government ministries, including the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Youth Development, have special child labor units.
The government took a number of steps to decrease child labor. These included the establishment of the Child Labor Monitoring System to coordinate all national efforts related to child labor as well as the creation of district child labor subcommittees. Child labor issues were integrated into the Complementary Basic Education curriculum and the teacher training college curriculum.
Other measures to ameliorate the problem included ensuring that children of school age attended school, imposing penalties on parents who did not enroll their children in school, and sensitizing employers in the formal sector against employing children below the age of 18.
The government revised the Child Development Policy to include prohibitions against the worst forms of child labor and conducted outreach to educate citizens about the policy.
The national intersectoral committee on child labor within the Office of the Prime Minister, which includes representatives from several ministries and the NGO community, met in February and again in September. According to an ILO official, the government expressed its commitment to fight child labor and strengthen local structures for its elimination. The government collaborated with NGOs by providing technical expertise in agriculture and qualified trainers, as well as the necessary allowances and in some cases a budget to support child labor related activities. For example, the Igunga District Council set aside Tanzanian shillings 7,000,000 ($5,200) for child labor related activities during the year.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. neil
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 06:54:13

    good day i am from south africa to which i went to work for the dhow inn hotel in zanzibar to which i had problems such as not being paid not getting proper housing and benefits promised to me before leaving south africa in the 3 months i was there i only had 4 days off and then i was told to leave and the hotel refused to pay my flight back to south africa who can i speak to in hopes of getting what is owed to me as well as to ensure that they stop taking advantage of the locals by overworking them as well as making them do work thats not in there job title and so as they cannot also take advantage of other professionals from foriegn countries as i’m not the only one they did this to they also did it to my colluage from germany please can you assist me

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