What are organisational rights?
Organisational rights refers to the rights of a registered trade union to:
- Recruit members.
- To communicate with members.
- Meet members in dealing with the employer.
- Hold meetings of employees on the premises.
- Vote in any ballot under the union constitution.
These rights are provided for under section 60 of the Employment and Labour Relations Act, 2004. It also refers to the rights of a trade union to establish a field branch in a workplace containing ten or more members, and rights to get leave for trade union activities
Are organisational rights automatic rights for trade union members?
These are your rights, but are subject to any reasonable conditions to ensure the orderly exercise of the rights and that work is not unduly interrupted. Section 64 of The Employment and Labour Relations Act, 2004 requires a trade union intending to exercise any of the organisational rights to notify an employer in the prescribed form that it seeks to exercise such rights. Failure to do so may entitle the employer to refuse such a request.
What happens in event we, as a trade union, breach the material conditions for the exercise of organisational rights?
Where there is a breach of the terms and conditions for exercise of organisational rights, the employer may refer the issue to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA). If the CMA fails to resolve the dispute an employer may apply to the Labour Court which may terminate any of the organisational rights granted to the trade union.
What happens if the employer refuses to meet with the unions/grant such right?
As provided above, if the trade union meets the statutory qualification to deserve for such rights then the employer has no right to totally refuse to grant it; but the same may be granted subject to some conditions. In event the employer refuse to meet with the unions within 30 days from the time they received the notification or unreasonably refuses to grant such rights, the union may refer the dispute to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA).
I am a trade union representative in my work place, and my employer refuses me time off to travel for the performance of some union functions. Is this fair?
You are under the law entitled to a reasonable paid time off to perform the following statutory functions:
- To represent members in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
- To make representations on behalf of members in respect of rules; and health and safety welfare.
- To consult on productivity in the workplace.
- To represent the trade union in inquiries and investigations conducted by inspectors in terms of any labour laws.
- To monitor employer compliance with labour laws.
- To perform trade union functions under the union’s constitution.
- To further good relations.
- To perform any functions or roles agreed by the employer.
In event any of the mentioned rights have been unreasonably refused by the employer then the trade union representative may refer the matter to the CMA.
How many representatives is a registered trade union required to have at a workplace?
A registered trade union shall be entitled to:
- One trade union representative for one to nine members.
- Three representatives for ten to twenty members.
- Ten representatives for twenty one to one hundred members.
- Fifteen representatives in workplaces with more than one hundred members.
Find out about Minimum Wages in Tanzania.