Decent work with social dialogue for sustainable growth in Tanzania

26Oct 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Decent work with social dialogue for sustainable growth in Tanzania
  • A joint statement from Sweden, ILO, ATE, TUCTA,TPSF, and Scania Tanzania

TANZANIA is on the pathtowards industrialization.  Improved social dialogue and policy coordination could enhance the inclusiveness and impact on Tanzanian economy and the benefits for ordinary Tanzanians.

The business case for improving social dialogue in Tanzania is strong. Research and experiences show that social dialogue can be a driving forcefor stability, equity, productivity and stimulate business growth.  

The Government of Sweden, ILO, ATE, TUCTA, TPSF and the Swedish multinational company Scania stand behind the ideas of the Global Deal, a multi-stakeholder partnership that aims at encouraging governments, businesses unions and other organizations to make concrete commitments to contribute to Decent Work and inclusive growth - to form a Tanzanian Deal.  

Tanzania has had consistently high economic growth rates in the recent years (at around 6-7 percent annually) and sustained growth is within reach.  The Second Five Year Development Plan 2016/17 to 2020/21 (FYDP II) envisages an ambitious structural transformation in Tanzania.  Releasing bottlenecks in infrastructure, improving the business environment and leveraging public private partnerships (PPPs), increasing agricultural productivity, expanding access to public services while maintaining fiscal and financial stability will all enable Tanzania to achieve middle income country status. 

Employment opportunities for the 800,000 young women and men who enter the job market annually remain limited, especially in the formal sector.  To address this challenge, the international experience suggestswe need policy coordination through social dialogue. 

Social dialogue includes all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between or among representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy. Effective social dialogue contributes to decent work and quality jobs and thus to faster and equitable growth benefiting workers, companies and societies alike.

Both employers and workers have an interest in increasing productivity – for increased profits and higher wages and better working conditions. Experience from the ILO Better Work program shows how effective dialogue at work places and improvements in working conditions can be translated into business gains such as increases in profitability of participating factories by up to 25 %. 

In Tanzania, the benefits of improved social dialogue would extend beyond the single enterprise. It could support economic development at large by providing an enabling business environment that would benefit both sustainable enterprises and people.  By facilitating for dialogue, regulations and laws can be developed based on the needs of enterprises as well as Tanzanian workers.  

The view that trade unions and dialogue with workers hinders economic development has proven to be wrong a long time ago. Swedish companies rather argue the opposite and they are backed up by empirical evidence.  In Tanzania, Scania welcomes reforms for improved tax revenue collection and regulations as well as social dialogue as it is simply better for business and contributes to a level playing field.  International as well as national businesses operating in Tanzania should not just allow but also encourage dialogue among workers and businesses as well as with government. 

Dialogue is a tool for helping both unions and businesses to comply with national laws, not just labour laws but also tax laws and other regulations as well as skills development, which facilitates upgrading of production, working conditions and improves transparency and accountability.  

Social dialogue hasalso shown to result in much more than “just” positive effects on productivity and profitability for employers and wages and employment growth for workers. In many parts of the world, social dialogue has also played a critical role in averting crisis, both economic and social, through dialogue and negotiations for a win-win for the society as a whole. 

In Tunisia for example, the government together with workers and employers associations even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for the social contract that was established and diverted a political and social crisis in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. 

Research from ILO and other organizations has also shown that countrieswhere Governments, employers and workers work together are in a better position to devise sustainable strategies, invest in capital-intensive production, introduce new technology and spend more on research and development.  As such, social dialogue and support to organizations of workers as well as enterprises could enhance the progress of Tanzanian economy, the industrialization process and the benefits for ordinary Tanzanians. 

It is not difficult to understand why this is so.  Under “Tripartism” the social partners realize that acting in a coordinated way increases “the size of the pie” instead of working in a zero-sum game.  And social dialogue ensures that the distribution of gains is a fair one.  The economic and social record of Scandinavian countries, along with others that have well-functioning labor relations, attests to this.  

With this in mind, Sweden,the ILO and other stakeholders such as the global employers and workers associations as well as multinational businesses such as Scania have established a global partnership, namely the ‘Global Deal’.  

The objective is to jointly assist countries to address their economic and social challenges and unleashing potentials in a way that would enable all people to benefit from economic growth. This multi-stakeholder partnership aims to encourage governments, businesses, unions and other stakeholders to make concrete commitments to enhance social dialogue and contribute to Decent Work for all. It provides a platform for not just dialogue on labour relations but also to connect with other stakeholders, share best practices and experiences on issues such as anti-corruption, taxes or regulations. 

As the network of participating countries in the global deal expands, we would like to invite Tanzania to join this initiative. We believe that focusing on decent work creation will add to the gains already achieved by Tanzania and will strengthen and accelerate the path to industrialization.  

The government of Sweden, ILO, ATE, TUCTA,TPSF, and Scaniastand behind Tanzania to reach its aimas we realize the importance of social dialogue for a fair industrialization, revenue collection and adherence to rules and regulations. As such we welcome any initiatives for a Tanzanian deal - for the people and societies of Tanzania. 

The article is a joint statement by  Ms Katarina Rangnitt, Ambassador of Sweden in TanzaniaDr Mary Kawar, International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Director for Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.Mr Godfrey Simbeye, Executive Director, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) 

Dr. Aggrey Mlimuka, Dr. Aggrey Mlimuka, Executive Director, Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) Dr. YahyaMsigwa, Secretary General, TradeUnion Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA)Lars Eklund, Managing Director, Scania Tanzania