Trade unions in Morocco have launched a campaign against a draft law that violates the constitutional right to strike in the country.
Unions are demanding the proposed legislation, which limits the right to strike, is withdrawn for adoption by the Moroccan parliament.
The draft regulatory law No. 15.97 was written without consultation or negotiation with trade unions, contravening fundamental International Labour Organization Conventions 87 and 98, according to the IndustriAll global union.
The right to strike is upheld in chapter 29 of the Moroccan constitution, but now the government is trying to restrict the conditions for striking in law for the first time, it says.
Moroccan unions say the bill would turn a universal human right into an instrument of oppression, directed primarily at protestors and trade unionists. Unions are collecting signatures against the bill, and plan to mobilise.
“IndustriAll global union urges the government of Morocco to withdraw the draft law on the right to strike, which was written and submitted unilaterally to parliament for adoption, and has not been the subject of tripartite discussions with partners,” notes IndustriAll general secretary, Valter Sanches.
Unions are demanding that fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are respected and that the Moroccan government commits to tripartite social dialogue.
They say the proposed legislation “is part of a growing attack on trade union rights and freedoms in the country.”
In response, trade unions have mounted numerous demonstrations, strikes and marches to try to persuade the government to meet its social dialogue commitments.
In January, a “Month of Anger” saw a series of protests, including marches, strikes and demonstrations demanding the government institutionalise tripartite social dialogue, respect trade union rights and comply with ILO Conventions, as agreed with the unions on 26 April 2011. Despite the agreement, trade union rights are frequently violated in Morocco, they say.
Unions are also angered by numerous social problems that the government has failed to address, including high living costs, the deterioration of social services, a lack of opportunities for young people, the violation of the pensioners’ rights, and a huge increase in the unemployment rate.
Among the key union demands are:
- Respect for freedom of association;
- Application of the agreement of 26 April 2011;
- A MAD600 (US$63) increase in civil servant salaries;
- A 10% increase in the minimum wage;
- Increased family allowances;
- Lower taxation, and no tax on pensions;
- Institutionalised tripartite social dialogue;
- The cancellation of dismissals of union members, and legal cases against union officials.
As reported on just-style earlier this year, Morocco’s clothing and textile industry association is optimistic about the sector’s growth in the year ahead, with fast fashion sales to Europe driving expansion.