The conflict of socialist ideology and industrial relations practice in Tanzania: a case of AISCO and TIPER

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University of Dar es Salaam
Labour struggles are imminent in countries where capitalism is a predominant force. Likewise, Tanzania is still dominated by capitalist relations of production which underplay the working people far emancipation despite her socialist rhetoric. Actually all labour conflicts that have ever been experienced in Tanzania reflect predominance of capital over labour. Despite the fact that Tanzania's socialism' does not recognise the working class as a transformative force of society we argue in chapter one that political development in Tanzania show however' that the workers are on the struggles to transform their work places. That is, they are fighting against all forms of suppression, oppression and exploitation exercised by the petty bourgeoisie through public enterprise managements. The efforts made by the working class to transform work conditions are normally observable when conflicts erupt between the workers and employers. The recent labour conflicts in Tanzania are indicative of this development. Hence by studying the recent AISCO and TIPER industrial labour disputes we were able to explore the extent to which the working class in Tanzania can transform capitalist tendencies and state capitalist structures that predominate industrial relations practice in Tanzania. Our stud y was based on three broad assumptions that: first, the state machinery is dominated by bourgeois forces which are likely to retard workers' influence on the state; second , the organisation for the working class at enterprise and national levels will influence the working class in its struggles to realise its objectives; and third the institutional framework, i.e. PLT, CCM, JUWATA, SCOPO, etc, operating in industrial relations in Tanzania are likely to frustrate the efforts mad e by the working class to transform oppressive and exploitative relations in the micro (enterprise level) and macro (national level) sense. However we also argue in chapter one that in transformational struggles the workers encounters various problems inherent in class societies. In the struggles between the workers and employers the state intervenes by establishing certain mechanisms through which conflict regulation could be effected. Thus, workers interalia, face obstacles such as repressive legal structures (Labour laws) state institutional framework, ideologies emanating from the state, etc. But normally conflict regulation is done in the interest of the employers. In addition, ideologies which are normally propounded officially by the state cripple the struggles by the working class for emancipation. Therefore in chapters one and two we also review the official ideology ‘ujamaa workers ' participation, Mwongozo and other ideologies which have dominated industrial relations in Tanzania. We argue that all of these id ecologies have played a role of cooption of the working class into the existing capitalist order whose main objective is to exploit them. These ideologies have always obscured exploitation which is going on in Tanzania. However, the contradictory nature of these petty bourgeois ideology have aroused workers ' consciousness which has accelerated the development of the need to question malpractices committed by the managers in industrial enterprises hence fierce confrontation. In chapter four, we present the industrial turmoil which occurred in our case studies i.e. AISCO and TIPER enterprises, Having presented how the struggles took place act both enterprises and how the legal procedures were employed in the settlement of the disputes we arrive at the conclusion that the two disputes manifest a direct confrontation between those in power and the workers and that those in power and benefitting from the system would use whatever means to uphold their positions and ideas. A critical analysis of labour struggles in the two case studies is provided in chapter five. Here, class contradictions are revealed by industrial relations practice. We try to show how the management in alliance with the state incumbents organise themselves and use not only state power but also various institutions to protect their class interests and thus maintain status quo. Through such organisational hegemony the state incumbents and the enterprise managers (Bureaucratic bourgeoisie) suppress workers ' interests and efforts directed toward s transforming work relations at workplaces. Workers organisation is a very essential aspect in the struggles of the working class for emancipation. In chapter six we look at the way in which workers organise themselves at enterprise level to further their interests. We also look at how they are organised at national level. The workers are organised around JUWATA (National workers ' organisation) and CCM (Ruling party) branches act the enterprises. The workers are using these branches effectively to struggle against oppressive and exploitative practices. But the JUWATA branch which is a legitimate workers ' organ at the workplace, would have been more effectively used by the workers hard it not been the proliferation and domination of other institutions (i.e, the party and its mass organisations). A gap between the grassroots and national level in the workers ' organisation renders the workers struggles at national level ineffective. In conclusion, therefore we observe that the hegemonic power of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie towards workers struggles aiming at the transformation of unfavorable work circumstances. Petty bourgeois class alliance, institutional domination and the crippled working class organisation demonstrated by this stud y prove the validity of the foregoing contention and explain the ongoing class struggles in Tanzania. However the working class struggles have eroded the socialist ideology' prestige by exposing the contradictions that have been concealed by this ideology for quite a long time in the Tanzanian society. Hence, we conclusively argue that it is high time for the working class to intensify class struggles for independent organisation whose major task should be to cater for the development of the working class in Tanzania.
Available in print form
Industrial relations, Tanzania, Agricultural and Industrial Supplies Company (AISCO), Tanzania Italian Petroleum Refinery (TIPER)
Kamuzora, P. L(1984) The conflict of socialist ideology and industrial relations practice in Tanzania: a case of AISCO and TIPER, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )