The Effects of Debate, Africapay and Legal Helpdesk on ATE

By Patricia Chao, ATE, Africapay.org/Tanzania manager

Since 2012 the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) together with Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) implemented the Enabling Social Dialogue and the Living Wage projects with the technical and financial support of the Wage Indicator Foundation. Through these projects a number of activities were organized, including: debates, the Africapay.org/Tanzania website and legal help desk. What is the effect of the debates, the website Africapay and the questions via the helpdesk on ATE?

Effects of Debate

The debates are conducted by selecting a sector in the economy and inviting employers and employees of that sector to meet. With the help of a neutral moderator the parties will identify the key challenges they face in their daily professional life. They debate on possible ways of addressing those challenges until they reach an agreement. An officer from the Ministry of Labor and legal experts are always invited as facilitators to clarify issues that may require further explanation.

The debates have been very helpful since it is done in an environment that is friendly to all parties, not in a court room or in a workplace during crisis. Everybody is able to speak their mind. Hence it is the ideal model for discussing issues and identifying the possible solutions.

Debates have helped members of the Association to get some hints on how to address the discussed issues at their workplace. They are able to take home several different action points, because there are different sectors invited to these debates. They can discuss the action points with their employees and management. The debates are none-binding. Who will refuse a free solution to problems? ATE also compiles the report and shares it with members in the sector who were unable to attend the debate.

Debates have also reduced the number of questions that ATE is receiving on issues that have been discussed in the debates. Moreover, when such issues are brought to ATE they are now well focused and at rather high and technical level.

Effects of Africapay.org/Tanzania

This website is very useful for employers and employees in Tanzania and not just ATE-members. The website is used as a:

  • Source of reference on various issues such as Minimum Wage, Living Wage, Termination, Contract of Employment, Maternity issues etc.;
  • Easy way of contacting  experts;
  • A free online library;
  • A platform that clarifies employment and labor issues in Tanzania.

 

In Tanzania, very few documents are available in an electronic format that is accessible to the public. Most of those documents are either on public office shelfs or not accessible at all in the name of confidentiality. But information such as sectoral minimum wages, digested labor laws, various codes and instruments is available on the website. This means that the public can access them. All they need is connection to internet and a computer or phone. This has helped the legal officers of ATE, since they are now able to refer members with questions to the website for further information.  This has reduced questions especially on the issues that are on the website.

The Effects of the Legal Helpdesk

The legal helpdesk is the only electronic contact between the visitors of the website and the WageIndicator-team in ATE.  The website offers educational opportunities to members and non-members as well as employers and employees. It has helped to avoid various conflicts that could have been caused by ignorance. Common issues like retrenchments, minimum wages, and labor law interpretation are normally sources of labor disputes when approached without clearly understanding them. Thanks to the website such unnecessary disputes are avoided at minimal cost.


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