Going on Strike

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Strikes and procedures for calling a strike

Calling a strike is the right of every employee, but on occasion the courts have declared some strikes illegal, despite the same being permitted by labour law. This is mainly due to the fact that the relevant trade union and/or employees failed to observe the procedures which are outlined under the law. This is either due to their ignorance of the law or a lack of patience. This is why it is relevant to discuss strikes and the procedures to be followed, so as to avoid an unnecessary breach of the law, penalty payments and the failure of employees to demand their rights.

What is a strike?

The law defines a strike as a total or partial stoppage of work by employees, if the stoppage is to compel their employer, any other employer or an employers’ association to which the employer belongs to accept, modify or abandon any demand that may form a subject matter of a dispute of interest.

Employees can strike if the dispute at hand is a dispute of interest. A dispute of interest is a dispute on future rights or demands for terms above those provided by the law or contract of employment, for example, a wage increase.

Is it true that I am permitted by the law to strike?

Yes. The general rule is that every employee has a right to strike in respect of a dispute of interest; but the same must be called by a trade union representing those employees. However there are some exceptions where an employee can not go on strike:

  • If an employee is engaged in an essential service and there is no collective agreement providing for minimum services during a strike. Essential services have been listed under the law as services such as Water and Sanitation, Electricity, Health Services and associated Laboratory Services, Fire Fighting Services, Air Traffic Control and Civil Aviation Telecommunications, and any transport services required for the provision of essential services.
  • If an employee is engaged in a minimum service.
  • If an employee is bound by an agreement which requires the dispute to be referred to arbitration.
  • If an employee is bound by a collective agreement or an arbitration award regulating the issue in dispute.
  • If that person is a magistrate, prosecutor, or other court personnel.
  • If the issue at hand is not a dispute of interest but rather a complaint.

What procedures need I follow before calling a strike?

First and foremost the dispute must be that of interest and the same must first be referred to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration. If that body fails to resolve it at the end of mediation, then calling a strike becomes a possibility.

The strike must be called by a trade union after conducting a ballot as per the union constitution and the majority are in favour of the strike.

The union must send 48 hours notice to the employer of the intention to strike. The notice must be issued after parties have gone for mediation as per the first bullet and mediation has failed.

If the notice period of 48 hours has lapsed then the trade union may call a strike.

Is there any consequences for failure to comply the outlined procedures?

If the strike has not complied with the mentioned procedures the Labour Court has jurisdiction to declare the strike unlawful/illegal and therefore issue an injunction prohibiting any person from participating in an unlawful strike. It may also order payment of compensation for any loss attributed to the strike. The law also allows termination of the employment of employees who have participated in an unlawful strike.

Does the law permit my employer stop my salary during the period of a strike?

An employer has no obligation to pay a salary during a period in which the employee is participating in a lawful strike. But as an employer you will be required to continue making contributions to the social security fund – this contribution will after the strike be deducted from the wage of the employee.

What other conducts are prohibited during a strike?

The following conducts associated with strike are prohibited:

  • Picketing.
  • Use of replacement labour by the employer.
  • Locking employers in the premises.
  • Preventing employers from entering the premises.

Read more

Find out more about Minimum Wages in Tanzania.

 

 

Complete our Salary Survey and Win a Wage!

 

Calling a strike is the right of every employee, but on occasion the courts have declared some strikes illegal, despite the same being permitted by labour law. This is mainly due to the fact that the relevant trade union and/or employees failed to observe the procedures which are outlined under the law. This is either due to their ignorance of the law or a lack of patience. This is why it is relevant to discuss strikes and the procedures to be followed, so as to avoid an unnecessary breach of the law, penalty payments and the failure of employees to demand their rights.

What is a strike?

The law defines a strike as a total or partial stoppage of work by employees, if the stoppage is to compel their employer, any other employer or an employers’ association to which the employer belongs to accept, modify or abandon any demand that may form a subject matter of a dispute of interest.

Employees can strike if the dispute at hand is a dispute of interest. A dispute of interest is a dispute on future rights or demands for terms above those provided by the law or contract of employment, for example, a wage increase.

Is it true that I am permitted by the law to strike?

Yes. The general rule is that every employee has a right to strike in respect of a dispute of interest; but the same must be called by a trade union representing those employees. However there are some exceptions where an employee can not go on strike:

What procedures need I follow before calling a strike?

First and foremost the dispute must be that of interest and the same must first be referred to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration. If that body fails to resolve it at the end of mediation, then calling a strike becomes a possibility.

The strike must be called by a trade union after conducting a ballot as per the union constitution and the majority are in favour of the strike.

The union must send 48 hours notice to the employer of the intention to strike. The notice must be issued after parties have gone for mediation as per the first bullet and mediation has failed.

If the notice period of 48 hours has lapsed then the trade union may call a strike.

Is there any consequences for failure to comply the outlined procedures?

If the strike has not complied with the mentioned procedures the Labour Court has jurisdiction to declare the strike unlawful/illegal and therefore issue an injunction prohibiting any person from participating in an unlawful strike. It may also order payment of compensation for any loss attributed to the strike. The law also allows termination of the employment of employees who have participated in an unlawful strike.

Does the law permit my employer stop my salary during the period of a strike?

An employer has no obligation to pay a salary during a period in which the employee is participating in a lawful strike. But as an employer you will be required to continue making contributions to the social security fund – this contribution will after the strike be deducted from the wage of the employee.

What other conducts are prohibited during a strike?

The following conducts associated with strike are prohibited:

Read more

Find out more about Minimum Wages in Tanzania.

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