By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, August 3, 2012
A large number of Moroccans who suffered under the leaden weight of unemployment turn sooner or later to call centers, the most thriving sector in the Moroccan labor market.
With a low job offer in other domains, Call centers remain the most appealing recruiters mainly due to the salary they offer, their low level of requirements, their high recruitment capacity and their flexibility in term of schedules. For frustrated job seekers, call centers seem to be as reassuring as an oasis in the heart of the desert.
Statistics indicate that the relocation of business procedures from France to North African countries like Morocco and Tunisia secured more than 40, 000 positions, while they could create only 230 jobs in France.
Recruiters for call centers insist on that the candidates display a high proficiency in French, English or Spanish, as well as a flawless elocution since telephone operators are not often allowed to reveal their Arab identity. They would mimic the French accent as much as they can and use French names instead. “Said may become François and “Aicha” would become Isabelle only for the time allotted to the conversation with the customer.
Yet this presumably Green oasis turned to be in many occasions a misleading mirage. The work conditions in some call centers are reminiscent of those stifling sweatshops that suck the blood of those crashed by need.
Some call centers are places where flagrant violations of the labor code occur. Most of these abuses go unnoticed by the labor inspection mainly because they are not reported ,since many employees fear dismissal if they ever pursue their rights.
It is noteworthy that the sole intention to be affiliated to unions and to form any is a taboo in call centers. All those who attempted to do so found themselves fired suddenly and mysteriously for invalid reasons.
But the investors’ choice of Morocco among other Francophone countries is not fortuitous. They often opt for the Cherifien kingdom mainly for its cheap labor and the low cost of telephone communication in comparison with its cost France.
But as the economic crisis tightens its grip over the old continent, the French government is digging deep for rescue plans that would stimulate the domestic growth. The debate is heated now in France over the relocation of call centers in France in the name of “protectionism.”
According to the daily Al Massae, the socialists in power would like to see the call centers settle their business in France in order to remedy unemployment. The issue provoked divisions within the socialist party among those who see no harm in transferring some services outside France and especially in Morocco and those who believe that the current economic conjecture demands a relocation of these services back to the French job market.
The French President, François Hollande, considers that French companies should be allowed to relocate their business outside France if the transfer is undertaken in compliance with the code of public markets. On the other hand, Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister of Industrial Renewal deems it inconvenient to concede a large number of job offers to foreign markets, while many sectors in France are unraveling under the burden of the economic crisis.
The Daily Al Massae reports that the automobile sector is going down a spiral of recession, especially for the group Peugeot Citroen. Montebourg predicted that hard times are ahead for other sectors mainly the aviation and telecommunications.
Seemingly the protectionist approach is making a strong come back in politics in Europe. This old defense strategy is again wielded by many developed countries in response to the economic slowdown though they pledged in their G20 meeting in 2009 that” they will not repeat the historic mistakes of protectionism of previous eras”.
While Europeans are hastening to save their sinking ship, the Moroccan government as its predecessors is trying to court foreign investors at any price. But almost nobody seems to be concerned about Moroccan workers in call centers whose rights are abused in total impunity and utter indifference.