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Tanzania Declares All Trade Unions Defunct

TOMRIC Agency, 5 July 2000

Dar Es Salaam - The government has declared all trade unions in Tanzania defunct effective from July 1, this year and their registration supposed to start afresh, the Minister for labor and Youth Development, Paul Kimiti announced in Dodoma Region yesterday.

However, in order to avoid creating a vacuum, he said the present unions would be given lease of life through temporary registration while awaiting to process new registration in accordance with laws, The Guardian reports.

The announcement he made yesterday in Dodoma Region the capital city of Tanzania followed the appointment of the registrar of trade unions, formulation of rules and regulations of trade unions and establishment of an independent office of the registrar and his deputy.

Kimiti said an agreement had been reached with former trade unions on how to manage their property before new bodies were registered as well as obtaining a High Court order to entrust the property of trade unions to the public trustee. Agreement had been also reached on how to handle workers of the Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) that became defunct with the coming into force of the Act No. 10 of 1998. The agreement means workers are free to establish trade unions.

To avoid a vacuum during the transition period, existing trade unions will have to get temporary registration. The trade unions with temporary registration will have to prepare constitutions and regulations to follow for holding elections, the minister said.

He did not explain as to why the defunct was necessary, but he said that the new unions should be strong, united rather than having disunited ones. Since 1998 the TFTU has over 10 affiliated trade unions that brought together workers of various sectors like education, health, industrial and commercial, agricultural, hotel and railways workers.

Trade unions to be formed should abide by principles of work by ensuring that there is increased efficiency and productivity in order to increase income and benefits for workers, he suggested. Trade unions should not used to further political ends, he said, adding, however, that there members could be members of political parties in their individual capacity.