Education International is concerned by the disruption of legitimate union activities and meetings of the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) by the police, including a TTU Council meeting on 25 September. The intimidation and intervention in the internal affairs of the union by government authorities is a serious violation of international labour standards and ILO Conventions, for which Tanzania is a signatory.
In addition to these actions, the government has refused to extend the secondment of the General Secretary of TTU, Mr. Maganga Japhet, to fulfill his duties as union official. According to the TTU, the government strategy aims to suspend or remove the current leadership of the union, including President Leah Ulaya and General Secretary Maganga Japhet. Education International has called on the Government of Tanzania to ensure that TTU can carry out its activities without any form of interference.
"Education International stands with our members and the teachers of Tanzania as they organise to ensure the right to quality education for all students. Their trade union rights must be respected in accordance to national and international laws. We call on the authorities to respect and value the role of education unions by supporting their engagement in social dialogue", stated EI General Secretary, David Edwards.
This is not the first time that the Tanzanian government has tried to impede the functioning of the union. Earlier this year, the authorities had appointed the TTU President and General Secretary to the position of District Commissioners. These appointments would have left the union without senior elected officials, effectively paralysing the TTU. Following an intervention by EI, the appointments were eventually rescinded and the TTU leaders were allowed to go back to their union duties.
Education International also wrote to the TTU to convey the solidarity and unequivocal support of the African and global teaching community to the TTU leadership and membership. Together TTU and EI are compiling a submission to denounce the unlawful moves of the Government to the International Labour Organisation. Tanzania has ratified ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. The Government of Tanzania is obliged to ensure full implementation of these conventions, including TTU’s right to elect its own leaders and carry out its activities without interference.