With the introduction of the multi-party system and the progressive economic liberalisation in the 1980s and 1990s, trade unions in Tanzania have encountered new challenges. The formerly state influenced trade unions have become independent. But there are still difficulties in positioning labour interests in the social dialogue with the employers and the state. Privatisation and foreign direct investment further complicate advocacy for workers' rights.
Originating itself from the German workers' movement, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has a particular interest in promoting Tanzanian trade unions to be an independent and strong democratic advocate for employees. At FES Tanzania we foster a social partnership between employers and trade unions that respects workers' rights, good working conditions and social justice.
In particular, we work to strengthen the position of women and youths within trade unions who are still underrepresented in virtually all spheres of the political arena and support the efforts of particularly young unions in their struggle to position themselves on a national and regional stage (for instance domestic workers, security workers and within the informal sector).
Furthermore, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung promotes the international exchange and coordination of Tanzanian trade unions with their counterparts at the level of the East African Community (EAC) as well as with the international trade union movement and their regional branches in Africa.