3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Morocco

The ITUC affiliates in Morocco are the Confédération Démocratique du Travail (CDT), the Union Générale des Travailleurs du Maroc (UGTM) and the Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT).

In practice

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Anti-union repression at steel mill 31-05-2016

Hundreds of Maghreb Steel workers, in Casablanca, continued to fight for their rights in 2016. Three sit-ins were held, in May, during which strikers were violently attacked by the police. Several workers were injured.

Since the trade union was set up at the steel mill in 2015, its activities and actions have been repressed by the management. Seven trade unionists, including two union representatives, were dismissed in December. The trade union and the workers it represents received international backing from IndustriALL.

Head of dockers’ union dismissed 31-01-2016

At the beginning of 2016, in Casablanca, Saïd El Hairech, general secretary of the port workers’ union affiliated to the UMT (an ITUC affiliate) was sacked by the local management of the CMA-CGM Group. A dispute had just broken out at the Somaport terminal following the company’s attempts to impose a new work organisation system violating the collective agreement and professional standards. The management described Saïd El Hairech as a “nuisance”. It is not the first time the company has tried to silence the trade union leader. In 2012, he was jailed for his activism. He was released after three months in prison and following a global campaign organised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Anti-union ruling in Agadir31-01-2017

In January 2017, Abdellah Rahmoune, a member of the executive of the CDT (Confédération Démocratique du Travail), affiliated to the ITUC, and regional general secretary of the CDT in Agadir, was sentenced on appeal to pay three million dirhams (€279,000) in damages to the management of Les Conserveries Marocaines DOHA. The company had taken legal action to further undermine the mobilisation of workers (mainly women) who had initiated strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action in March 2015 in protest at the dismissal of 51 people, half of them union members. The company had tried to stifle the protest by hiring temporary workers in massive numbers, in violation of the labour law. The ruling has been strongly criticised by civil society organisations and led to the launch of a campaign by the IUF.

Social dialogue and freedom of association, the watchwords of Moroccan trade union centres 31-12-2015

Throughout the year, the ITUC-affiliated organisations, Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT), Union Générale des Travailleurs du Maroc (UGTM) and Confédération Démocratique du Travail (CDT), criticised the absence of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. with employers and the government. The agreement of 26 April 2011, focusing on trade union rights and the need for Morocco to ratify ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Convention 87, was the last social gain secured. Many of the provisions established under the agreement have not, however, been implemented and, since that date, the meetings held by the government have often been unilateral and have invariably failed to take on board the trade unions’ views. Such is the case with the pension reform, which the government was determined to push through at all costs.

The trade unions expressed their anger by boycotting the traditional May Day festivities. Their opposition to the reform culminated on 10 December with a general strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in the public service sector, called by the three ITUC-affiliated organisations and the FDT. The workers responded to the call en masse. In addition to the demands regarding wage increases and pensions, the union centres’ leaders insisted on the need for social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. , respect for freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and the removal of Article 288 of the Labour Code, which criminalises strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action.

Two new unions harshly repressed in August31-12-2015

The formation of UMT-affiliated unions in at least two companies sparked very hostile reactions from the employers. In August, the management at Maghreb Steel, near Casablanca, suppressed industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. by suspending 13 strikers. Also in August, the employer at Med Paper near Tangier, after having fired the leaders of the new union, dismissed every single worker that had taken part in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
held in support of the trade union representatives. A delegation from Union Network International (UNI), which was on a mission to Morocco at the time, was able to bear witness to the suffering of the workers dismissed from Med Paper. In December, when workers renewed strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action at Maghreb Steel, the management called in the security forces to evacuate the strikers occupying the plant. In both instances, the employers tried to justify their actions by claiming that the strikers were a potential threat to the other workers, and that they had damaged and sabotaged the production unit. The management at Maghreb Steel announced, in a press release, its intention to punish “these criminal acts”, and also spoke of “manipulation by outside forces”.

In July, the Organisation Démocratique du Travail (ODT) reported the repression faced by an affiliated organisation at Honda-Seat in Rabat. The union’s general secretary was dismissed and two other leaders were threatened.

Trade union victory in call centres11-06-2015

After years of fighting, victimisation and dismissals (see 2014 article on Total Call), a few dozen trade unionists, many of them women, were successfully elected during the trade union elections in the call centre sector in June. It marked a great victory for the UMT, which led the campaign. Eleven companies were unionised and almost 20,000 workers out of the 70,000 in the sector are now covered by collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
. By definition, however, working conditions continue to be precarious in these offshore outfits. On 11 June, the employees of SFR subcontractors staged a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in protest at rumours that the French telephone operator was planning to move the Moroccan hotline to Madagascar.

Social dialogue trampled underfoot in energy sector31-12-2015

The government has repeatedly shown contempt for social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. regarding the process of privatising the National Electricity and Water Company, ONEE. Around 9000 workers from the Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs de l’Energie (FNTE, affiliated to the UMT) held a nationwide strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to denounce the authorities’ breach of the framework agreement secured after long and painstaking negotiations with the Federation. IndustriALL supported its Moroccan affiliate and expressed deep concern over “the escalation and the lack of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. and negotiation with workers’ representatives”. .

Export processing zone still fiercely anti-union 31-01-2015

On 22 January, in Tangier’s new export processing zone export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. , Tangier Automotive City, Mohammed Charki, an employee and trade union activist at Electrical Components International (ECI), was insulted and beaten by security staff from Colinco, a subcontractor. He and a number of his colleagues were trying to form a union. The employer reacted by dismissing around ten activists on false grounds. A few days later, the security guards again manhandled workers staging a sit-in in front of the company. The employer reportedly threatened to sack anyone supporting the formation of a union. .

Call centre refused to recognise union13-06-2014

TheTotal Call call centre in Casablanca, a subsidiary of the Iliad Group, continued to refuse to allow the holding of worker delegate elections, Mostapha Berrchid, the general secretary of the Total Call union local, told Labour Start’s Global Solidarity Conference in Berlin May 2014. Workers had been trying since 2009 to set up a union, but the company always retaliated by dismissing the founding members before the union could be registered. Finally, in 2013, the Moroccan national centre UMT created the National Commission for Call Centre Organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. (CNOC), and took great care to protect the employees by working effectively and clandestinely until they obtained their official government certificate attesting to the union local’s legal existence. On the 13 February 2014, the day after having received the official government certification, management did not hesitate and proceeded to dismiss five members of the union local. Before doing so, management had attempted to get them to renounce their union affiliation, by offering material advantages. The CNOC, with the support of the UMT, organised a sit-in in front of the regional headquarters of the Ministry of Labour, as well as in front of the employer, to denounce their illegal decision. There was no response, and the leaders of the UMT lodged a complaint with the local and national authorities, who also failed to act. Total Call continues to refuse to recognise the union.

EPZ workers sacked and savagely beaten for forming union01-01-2015

In January 2015 ten workers were dismissed by Electrical Components International (ECI) for trying to set up a branch union at the workplace. ECI manufactures cables and electrical components and is based in the Tangiers export processing zone export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. (EPZ export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. ). The company dismissed the union’s members as soon as it learnt of its creation, as well as other employees who were former trade unionists. One of the union founders, Mohamed Charki, explained they were sacked for fictitious reasons, such as incompetence, despite having worked there for ten years, or for allegedly inciting violence. ECI also hired private security guards to prevent the dismissed workers from approaching the workplace. The security guards savagely attacked the workers concerned, who had to be hospitalised. The other workers at the company were warned not to have anything to do with the union. Yet they urgently needed a union to defend their rights, with particular concerns about pay and health and health and safety standards, Mohamed Charki explained. The violation of union rights is rife in Morocco’s export processing zones, as a 2012 report by the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
noted. Those who are sacked for trying to form a trade union are blacklisted and prevented from getting another job.

Management of Total Call refuses to recognise unions18-05-2014

Management of the call centre company “Total Call” refuses to recognise unions for collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
purposes. Moreover, 13 union members were dismissed after having announced the establishment of a union in the company, including Mostafa Berrchid, El Mehdi Nasseur, and Kamal Souker.

Ban protests and distribution of information material18-05-2014

The Confédération Démocratique Du Travail (CDT) reports that the distribution of information material and the organisation of protests action by workers have been prohibited on frequent basis. The refinery company Samir has used anti-discriminatory measures against trade unionists such as transfers, suspensions and dismissals. State-controlled companies and local governments often try to falsify the results of union elections. Moreover, Danone refuses to bargain in good faith with workers delaying negotiations to prevent agreements to be concluded. The company also does not provide accurate and complete information about the financial situation of the country. The government and employers cooperate to break strikes. CDT pointed out that employers hire replacement workers and the government uses sanctions to discourage workers from participating in strikes.

Anti-union practices at City Bus company in Fes14-06-2013

Since City Bus was contracted to manage urban transport in Fes in September 2012, here have been anti-union activities at the company, including: refusal by the local authorities to recognise the union office; the use of workers outside the company to break a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
organised since 13 May; and the use of police to remove workers who were taking part in protest action.

Teachers locked out for union activities03-09-2012

On the 3rd of September, the teachers and support workers from Notre Dame de la Paix, a private elementary school in Rabat, were met with security staff, who prevented the teachers from returning to their classrooms. These actions were taken because they formed a union: the Moroccan Catholic Schools union which is affiliated with the Moroccan Labour Union (UMT-ECAM) and represents three schools in Rabat. School authorities retaliated to the union creation by illegally firing 21 teachers for their union activities.

According to the union, the school wants them to sign short-term contracts containing a no-union clause before they will be allowed back to work.

Violence against trade unionists12-01-2013

On 12 January 2013, members of the Confédération Démocratique du Travail (CDT) who were protesting against 300 unfair dismissals from the Beler Karam Palace and Iminish Karak hotels and the Ozagar mining site were attacked by police. Several people were injured in the attack, including Omar Ouboho, the General Secretary of the local union local union A local branch of a higher-level trade union such as a national union. .

Imprisonment of trade unionists28-02-2013

In February 2013, Said Elhairech, the General Secretary of the Moroccan Ports Union, was given a one year prison sentence by the Criminal Court of First Instance in Rabat, which charged him with participating in obstructing freedom of action according to article 288 of the Moroccan Criminal Code. Mohamed Chamchati, the General Secretary of the Moroccan merchant seafarers’ union, was also arrested in June 2012 on charges linked to the cessation of operations at the Comarit-Comanav company.

Export processing zones expanding as unions face major challenges31-12-2010

Organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. in Morocco’s export processing zones is very difficult. The zones are spreading rapidly across several regions and sectors of activity in Morocco. The biggest project is the transformation of the port at Tangiers into an international logistics hub. Activities in the zones are diversifying, and now cover the service sector (call centres, off-shore banking, information technology etc.) car manufacturing and aeronautics.

Trade union access to the zones is heavily restricted, making freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
almost impossible in practice.

Workers are too scared to form trade unions, for fear of losing their jobs.
The labour inspection labour inspection An authority responsible for ensuring compliance with labour laws and legal provisions relating to protection of workers through the inspection of workplaces. service claims there are few problems concerning the respect of workers’ rights in the zones but gives no statistics to back up this claim.

Labour unrest as right to strike is undermined31-12-2010

The repeated strikes in many sectors are evidence of the government’s and employers’ disinterest in talking to the trade unions and taking workers’ demands into account. Low union membership levels and the legal demands to be met to hold collective negotiations have blocked progress in many enterprises. Worker unrest culminated in two widely followed strikes in the civil service in November organised by several major trade union centres. But most protest action and stoppages during the year simply met with disapproval and repression by employers and the authorities who abusively interpreted the labour code to treat any obstacle to the freedom to work as serious misconduct. The government continued to keep a tight grip on the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, only recognising the right of the most representative unions to take action.

Social dialogue blocked as government retaliates to public sector strikes09-02-2009

The national trade union centres deplored the hardening of the government’s attitude to the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, demonstrated for example when it docked wages across the board during the public sector strikes. The decision was taken on 9 February on the eve of a demonstration organised by the national centres, the second of the year, following that of 27 January. The unions denounced the unfair decision, point out that their action was in response to the lack of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. . In October the trade unions asked for the notice period for strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action to be reduced, as legislative reforms were due to set it at 10 days. The government also refused to negotiate any pay rises before 2011.

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