9 January 2013

Tanzania: Union Challenges Ruling On Teachers

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

THE Tanzania Teachers' Union (TTU) has asked the Court of Appeal to quash and set aside the decision of the High Court, Labour Division, which declared unlawful its members' strike staged in July last year, in demand of better salaries.

"The appellant (TTU) herein prays and asks the honourable court to allow the appeal, set aside the ruling and extracted drawn orders therein and order that the notice of strike, and the strike to have been lawful," reads part of submissions filed to support the appeal in question.

On August 2, 2012, High Court Judge Sophia Wambura declared the strike that was called on by the appellant on July 30, last year, illegal and ordered the teachers to call it off and resume their duties with immediate effect.

But in the memorandum of appeal, the TTU through legal services of Advocate Gabriel Mnyele stated that the trial judge erred in law and facts in holding that the strike was unlawful for, among others, the notice of strike for 48 hours was issued during weekend days.

"It is submitted that all the legal requirements prerequisite for calling a lawful strike were followed and adhered to by the appellants. There is no requirement of the law that is applicable which precludes weekend days from the 48 hours required for a notice of strike," they stated.

The TTU explained further that the trial judge erred in law and fact by holding that the strike was unlawful since it was intended to be for an unspecified period of time. In her decision, the judge had ruled that a lawful strike always has time limit.

According to the appellant, in that same way, there was no requirement to specify how long the strike would have lasted as provided for in the Labour Relations (Code of Good Practice) as such would take away the whole essence that the strikes were created for.

Therefore, the TTU submitted, it was inevitable that the notice to strike was legal and proper as regarding the objective of strikes and lockouts. They stated that the strike was intended to be indefinite as long as the dispute remained unsettled.

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