By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, April 7, 2012
As Morocco undergoes unprecedented waves of social protest and political reform, it is also experiencing a number of labor strikes that are effecting the public sector. With increasing numbers of strikes, the PJD-lead government is trying to minimize the negative consequences by enacting strict measures that will govern the right to strike and manner by which strikes are carried.
The government’s attempt to “manage” labor protests is causing controversy among employees, particularly the proposal to reduce a striker’s income by the number of days he or she is on strike. The government’s suggestion of cutting wages is not novel. The Ministry of Labor tried to enforce a similar initiative that was completely rejected by powerful labor unions.
While the right to strike is guaranteed under Article 14 of the 1962 constitution, it is not sufficiently delineated. According to Professor Ali Boufouss of the law faculty in Casablanca, the judiciary is responsible for organizing the system and right of striking. For the majority of unions, however, any attempt by the current government to regulate labor strikes is a breach of the existing law on the right to strike. The vice-president of the unified unions, Azeddine Benjelloun, warned the government against promulgating a law that would curtail the right to strike, adding the adoption of such measure would be unreasonable and could lead to serious consequences. Some other unions, such as the National Unity of Labor, endorsed the law and welcomed it with open arms.
During a meeting held on March 26 with Moroccan and French businessmen, Abdelilah Benkirane, head of the government, showed his determination to push forward with a law that would regulate Morocco’s labor strike system. He hinted that his government is already putting the final touches on the draft law and that last Thursday, a ministerial committee was appointed to prepare the groundwork for the new law.
At a time when many Moroccans question the credibility of labor unions, the latter seem to have no choice but to accept the soon-to-be-enacted law that would govern their right to strike. At the same time, it behooves the current government to find a middle ground that would take into account the concerns of labor unions, guaranteeing their right to strike, and maintaining public services during labor strikes.
Edited by Hisham El Koustaf
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