|dc.description.abstract||Brief Historical Background to the Development and Organisation of the Labour
Movement in Tanganyika
In Tanganyika, the penetration by German capital led to the dispossession of
peasants of their land. The fertile upland areas were carved out into plantations on
which the Germans periodically forced African peasants to work.
It was after World War II that African peasants were transformed into a stabilized
wage labour force from an unstabilized mass of semi-proletarians who were mainly
"target workers" (Sibanda in Chevo and Sibanda, 1984: 4). This was due to the
accelerated development of capitalist economic forms in the colony. Mihyo says:
.... between 1920 and 1930, the economy witnessed a shift from predominantly peasant production to a
plantation economy with the introduction of cash crops There thus emerged a people employed on
plantations - mainly sisal, coffee, rubber and groundnuts - forming a pioneer labour force which
increased as the plantation economy expanded (Damachi et al\ eds. 1979: 240).
By 1931 the workforce in Tanganyika, comprising all sectors: Government, plantation
agriculture, mining, transport (rail and road), simple manufacturing, building and
construction and commerce, etc. reached a total of 455 395 (Sibanda, ibid6).
This expansion and the accompanying problems between labour and capital spurred
the colonial administration to evolve a machinery to regulate industrial relations. A
Manpower Commission was set up in 1951 to look into labour conditions and
recommend systems of payment and means to increase efficiency and productivity.
The Report of the Commission cited low wages and lack of incentives (food and
leave) as causes of low productivity (Damachi, ibid., 242). The outcome was the
passing of two laws, the Minimum Wages, Terms and Conditions of Employment Act,
1953 and the Employment Ordinance of 1955:
The former Act set up minimum wages and collective bargaining from plant level with 'works
committees' to 'joint consultation councils' of employers and employees. Thus the institutional
framework of works committees and works councils are products of workers' struggles and intervention
of the state long before Independence (Sibanda, ibid., 8).
The latter Act set out minimum standards of employment including medical
examination and facilities, control of juvenile labour, provision of food, housing, etc.
The trade unions had come into existence spontaneously between 1947 and 1950 but
were then repressed by the colonial state. By 1953, they were recognised both de
facto and de jure with a machinery for their regulation and control in place. A Trade
Union Ordinance was passed, outlining the procedure of forming and registering
unions and providing minimum standards in their functioning, especially as regards
their finances and their participation in collective bargaining (Mihyo in Damachi,