Decline of Trade Union Collective Action in the Epoch of Neo-Liberal Globalisation: The Experience of Tanzania Teachers ' Union


  • Omary Thabiti Mndeme University of Dar es Salaam


Trade unions (TUs) in Tanganyika (later Tanzania) were relatively vibrant during the colonial period despite the ruthlessness of the colonial government. However, such vibrancy declined after independence despite the re-introduction of pluralist politics in the 1990s, which was expected to open more space for civil society organisations. Basing on Tanzania Teachers ' Union (TTU), this paper seeks to shed light on the factors for the decline of TUs ' collective action in the country. It explores the main benchmarks of the TTU evolution. Further, this paper analyses the factors that contributed to the decline of the trade union ' s collective action in Tanzania. Moreover, the paper recommends how TTUs can reform and act strategically. This paper is informed and guided by the Gramscian hegemony and counter-hegemony discourses. The study, adopted qualitative methods of data collection/generation particularly interviews, focus group discussion and documentary review. The study has shown that TTU lower-level organisations lack autonomy from the employer, thus unable to effectively mobilise members for collective action. Yet, the existing labour regimes derail TUs ' activism. The study recommends that TUs, including TTU, need to strive for labour law reforms, which among other things, will allow for their independent organisations and autonomy from government bureaucracy.

Keywords: trade union, collective action, activism, hegemony, teacher trade union.

Author Biography

Omary Thabiti Mndeme, University of Dar es Salaam

Assistant Lecturer, Institute of Development Studies