26 October 2012

Tanzania: Teachers Challenge Ruling On Strike

Photo: Leadership
Teachers union challenges high court decision over strike.

THE Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) has lodged an appeal before the Court of Appeal challenging the decision by the High Court's Labour Division which declared that the teachers' strike staged in July, this year, was illegal.

In its appeal the union advanced seven grounds to challenge the said decision. The teachers had taken industrial action that started on July 30 demanding better salaries and other perks before it was called off four days later, after the court's ruling delivered on August 2 by High Court Judge Sophia Wambura.

"It is proposed to ask the court for an order that the ruling of the court be set aside with costs and the strike by the appellants (TTU) be declared lawful," reads part of records of the appeal filed before the court in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

In her decision, apart from directing the teachers to resume their duties with immediate effect, Judge Wambura had ordered the union to pay damages monetarily or by compensating students for the classes they missed during the unlawful strike.

According to the judge, the strike was illegal because the notice given to support the same was insufficient. She noted that according to the law, TTU was required to provide 48 hours notice to the employer prior to the commencement of the strike.

But, she said, the notice was given on Friday evening, which falls on the weekend and the employer did not get enough time to safeguard his properties as required by law.

"To make it worse, the notice does not state when the strike will end. The strike which is indefinite is by itself unlawful," Judge Wambura had declared.

She further held that the motive behind the ballot which teachers were told to cast was conducted in bad faith. Teachers, she said, were not properly informed whether they were supporting the strike or demands for better salaries. But in the memorandum of appeal, TTU stated that the High Court Judge erred in law and facts by holding that the strike was unlawful and the notice to strike was bad in law because it was issued on a weekend.

TTU also stated that the Judge erred in law and facts in holding that teachers should have specified the duration of the industrial action and that the ballot was not properly conducted. "The High Court Judge erred in law in condemning the appellant to pay damages without proof of the said damages and to the students who were not party to the proceedings and without affording the appellant an opportunity to be heard," TTU further stated.

Copyright © 2012 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.