Skip to main content Accessibility help

Trade Unions, the Labour Process, and the Tanzanian State

  • M. A. Bienefeld

Even those who do not see the struggle between capital and labour as necessarily antagonistic in a capitalist economy, recognise that it represents one of the most critical areas of potential conflict. This must be analysed by those who wish to study industrial relations and to understand class struggle. Furthermore, the complexity of issues involved is such that people with the most divergent perspectives have often found themselves emphasising the same facts to achieve very different objectives.

Hide All

page 553 note 1 Tanzania will be used throughout to refer to the mainland, which before 1964 had been known as Tanganyika.

page 555 note 1 Governor Donald Cameron to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, included in the Report by MajorOrde-Brown, G. St. J., Labour in the Tanganyika Territory (London, 1926), p. 5.

page 556 note 1 Colonial Office, Annual Report on the Tanganyika Trust Territory (London, 1930), p. 46.

page 556 note 2 Cameron, loc. cit. p. 10.

page 556 note 3 Colonial Office, Annual Report, 1925, p. 43.

page 556 note 4 Ibid. 1930, p. 46.

page 557 note 1 Kenneth Sanders, Commissioner of Labour, Hansard. Tanganyika Legislative Council Debates (Dar es Salaam), 31st Session, Vol. 2, 13 12 1956, p. 793.

page 557 note 2 Sir Charles Phillips, Ibid. p. 803, obviously referring to the famous instruction by Lord Passfield (formerly Sidney Webb) that trade unions should be established in the colonial territories. In Tanganyika this had a negligible impact.

page 557 note 3 For an excellent description of this strike, see Iliffe, John, ‘History of the Dockworkers of Dar es Salaam’, in Tanzania Notes and Records (Dar es Salaam), 71, 1970, pp. 119–48. A shortened version appeared as ‘The Creation of Group Consciousness among the Dockworkers’, in Cohen, Robin and Sandbrook, Robert (eds.), Towards an African Working Class (London, 1975), pp. 4972.

page 558 note 1 Annual Report. Labour Department of the Tanganyika Government (Dar es Salaam, 1949), hereinafter referred to as ARLD.

page 559 note 1 Letter by the Labour Commissioner, cited by Iliffe, ‘History of the Dockworkers of Dar es Salaam’, p. 134.

page 559 note 2 Ibid. p. 135.

page 559 note 3 G. Hamilton to a meeting of employers in Tanga, 28 April 1950, cited by Iliffe, ibid. p. 138.

page 559 note 4 Ibid. p. 131.

page 560 note 1 ARLD, 1949, p. 27.

page 560 note 2 ARLD, 1951, p. 21.

page 561 note 1 ARLD, 1954, p. 14.

page 561 note 2 East Africa Royal Commission, 1953–1955: Report (London, 1955), Cmnd 9475, pp. 161–2.

page 561 note 3 Despatch No. 114 dated 7 February 1956 from the Governor of Tanganyika to the Secretary of State for the Colonies; Despatches from the Governors of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika…commenting on the East Africa Royal Commission, 1953–1955 (London, 1956), Cmnd. 9801.

page 562 note 1 ARLD, 1955.

page 563 note 1 Legislative Council Debates, 31st Session, Vol. 2, 13 12 1956, pp. 799803.

page 564 note 1 Singh, Makhan, History of Kenya's Trade Union Movement to 1952 (Nairobi, 1969), p. 316.

page 564 note 2 Royal Commission, 1953–1955, p. 246.

page 564 note 3 Amsden, Alice. International Firms and Labour in Kenya, 1945–1970 (London, 1971).

page 565 note 1 ARLD, 1958, p. 1.

page 565 note 2 Legislative Council Debates, 13 December 1956, p. 794.

page 565 note 3 ARLD, 1957.

page 565 note 4 Ibid.

page 566 note 1 Iliffe, loc. cit. p. 140.

page 566 note 2 ARLD, 1959, p. 10.

page 566 note 3 Iliffe, loc. cit. p. 138.

page 566 note 4 Ibid. pp. 142–3, and ARLD, 1959, pp. 10–12.

page 568 note 1 Friedland, W. H., Vuta Kamba: the development of trade unions in Tanganyika (Stanford 1969), pp. 135–7.

page 568 note 2 ARLD, 1956 and 1957; Friedland, op. cit. pp. 22–3; and The Standard (Dar es Salaam), 12 1956 to 02 1957.

page 568 note 3 I.C.F.T.U., Report of First African Regional Trade Union Conference, Accra, 14–19 January 1957, p. 24.

page 569 note 1 Legislative Council Debates, 33rd Session, Vol. 1, 18 September 1957, pp. 35–7. These remarks, incidentally, contrast sharply with the Labour Department's bland statement that the new model constitution for the trade unions had been worked out ‘in collaboration with the TFL’.

page 569 note 2 Friedland, op. cit. pp. 116–31, and Tordoff, William, ‘Trade Unionism in Tanzania’, in The Journal of Development Studies (London), II, 4, 07 1966, pp. 408–14.

page 569 note 3 Cited by Tordoff, loc. cit. pp. 409 and 411.

page 570 note 1 ARLD, 1958, p. 14, and 1959, p. 2.

page 570 note 2 Friedland, op. cit. p. 136.

page 571 note 1 ARLD, 1960. See also Scott, R. D., ‘Labour Legislation and the Federation Issue’, in East African Journal (Nairobi), 11 1964, p. 23, where the membership is put at 80,000. Alternatively, the Tanganyika Report, 1960 (London, 1961), para 406, estimated 65,322 members.

page 575 note 1 Nyerere, Julius K., ‘Ujamaa – the Basis of African Socialism’, in Freedom and Unity [Uhuru na Umoja]: a selection from writings and speeches, 1952–1965 (London, 1966), pp. 168–9.

page 576 note 1 Kamaliza, Michael, Minister for Labour, ‘Labour Policy’, in Bomani, Paul (ed.), Forward Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, 1965), p. 204.

page 577 note 1 Woddis, Jack in an article in Comment (London), cited in I.C.F.T.U., African Labour News (Lagos), 9 09 1964.

page 577 note 2 Quoted in Ibid. 2 September 1964.

page 578 note 1 Financial Times (London), 22 02 1962.

page 578 note 2 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt), 24 04 1962.

page 579 note 1 New York Times, 8 March 1962.

page 579 note 2 Wire-service report, quoting a story from the Chinese Hsin-Hua news agency – Reuters 11 June 1962.

page 579 note 3 Financial Times, 9 October 1962.

page 579 note 4 Cited in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 April 1962.

page 580 note 1 Mkello, Viktor, closing speech to an I.C.F.T.U.-sponsored ‘Seminar of East African Plantation Workers’, Tanga, 15–25 07 1963, mimeographed.

page 582 note 1 National Union of Tanganyika Workers (Establishment) Act, 1965.

page 582 note 2 Tordoff, loc. cit. p. 419.

page 582 note 3 Report of the Presidential Commission on the National Union of Tanganyika Workers (Dar es Salaam, 1967).

page 583 note 1 Government Paper No. 2 of 1967, entitled Proposals of the Tanzania Government on the Recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the National Union of Tanganyika Workers (NUTA) (Dar es Salaam, 1967), para. 23.

page 583 note 2 Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 23 12 1972.

page 583 note 3 Sunday News (Dar es Salaam), 24 06 1973. For particular instances, see Daily News, 3 January 1973, for the Dar es Salaam transport strike; Ibid. 16 August 1972, for the strike of construction workers at M.E.C.C.O.; and Ibid. 29 May 1973, and Sunday News, 24 June 1973, for the strike in Rubber Industries Ltd.

page 583 note 4 Sunday Times, 16 December 1973.

page 584 note 1 Ibid. 15 July 1973.

page 584 note 2 See Mapolu, H. A., ‘The Organisation and Participation of Workers in Tanzania’, Economic Research Bureau Paper No. 72.1, University of Dar es Salaam, 1972;Weinhold, H. J., ‘Problems of Workers’ Participation in Tanzania’, Development Studies Paper, University of Dar es Salaam, 1973; and Shivji, I. G., Class Struggles in Tanzania (New York, 1975).

page 584 note 3 Kamaliza, Michael, General Secretary of N.U.T.A., writing in The Standard, 25 02 1969.

page 585 note 1 International Labour Office, Report to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania on Wages, Incomes and Prices Policy[The Turner Report] (Dar es Salaam, 1957), para. 15, p. 6.

page 585 note 2 Ibid. para. 3, p. 12.

page 586 note 1 The most questionable of all was that purporting to show the relationship between rising wages and falling employment. Since wages rose most rapidly in industry rather than agriculture, while the fall in employment was more than accounted for by the collapse of sisal, the aggregate figures on which the calculation was based were distinctly misleading. Ibid. para. 23, p. 9.

page 586 note 2 Ibid. paras. 15 and 31.

page 587 note 1 The Standard, 25 February 1969.

page 588 note 1 See Mapolu, op. cit., Weinhold, op. cit., and M. A. Bienefeld, ‘Socialist Development and the Workers in Tanzania’, in Cohen and Sandbrook (eds.), op. cit. pp. 239–60.

page 589 note 1 Daily News, 3 May 1973.

page 589 note 2 Ibid. 30 June 1972.

page 589 note 3 The Standard, 25 February 1969.

page 589 note 4 This is all thoroughly discussed by Mapolu, op. cit. pp. 22ff.

page 589 note 5 Sunday News, 24 September 1972.

page 590 note 1 Mwongozo wa TANU [‘The T.A.N.U. Guidelines’] (Dar es Salaam, 1971).

page 590 note 2 Nyerere, Julius K., ‘The Rational Choice’, in Freedom and Development [Uhuru na Maendeleo]: a selection from writings and speeches, 1968–1973 (London, 1973), pp. 381–2.

page 590 note 3 Sunday News, 24 June 1973, reported that ‘between January 1971 and 16 June this year, there were more than thirty industrial disputes including those which did not result in stoppages’. Most of these were very short, some lasting less than a day.

page 590 note 4 Possibly the most vicious and absurd instance was the case of four workers, arrested over a transport strike in Dar es Salaam, who were held without bail for virtually a whole year, and then released because the prosecution's case was totally inadequate. Indeed, one of those arrested had arrived to start his shift after the stoppage had ended, nor had he any connection with the strike.

This incident shows the ‘scale’ of the industrial unrest, since here we see one of the much publicised strikes which lasted less than six hours in total; the arbitrariness and callousness of the police and the courts, who could hold these men for one year without bail, on the basis of such flimsy evidence; and also the limitations of current consciousness of the workers, since this blatant example of victimisation could occur with very little reaction from their brothers.

page 591 note 1 Sunday News, 24 June 1973.

page 591 note 2 Nyerere, quoted in Ibid.

page 591 note 3 Mihyo, Paschal, ‘Fighting for Workers' Control’, in Review of African Political Economy (London), 4, 11 1975, PP. 6285.

page 591 note 4 Daily News, 16 December 1973.

page 592 note 1 Mapolu has again shown that these branches have not had any significant impact on the situation on the factory floor; op. cit. pp. 16–19.

page 592 note 2 Mwansasu, B. U., ‘The Changing Role of the Tanganyika African National Union’, Conference on Development in Tanzania since 1967, Toronto, April 1976. This paper shows that the Party's early responses to the problem of the new Branch Secretaries had been totally inadequate.

* Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Brighton.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed