By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, September 9, 2012
Hundreds of unemployed young Moroccans graduates stormed the Justice and Development Party (PJD) headquarters in Rabat last Monday to demand public sector jobs.
The September 3rd demonstration was part of continuing efforts by the jobless graduates to seek direct recruitment into the public sector.
For now, performance on competitive civil service exams is the way to land a government job.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane ended the direct recruitment policy, begun under his predecessor, in order “to comply with the law and guarantee equality of opportunity for all Moroccans”.
Groups representing unemployed graduates rejected this solution. They have promised a season of protests against the administration.
Their sit-ins outside parliament continued, but without success. During Ramadan, around a hundred jobless graduates broke their fast outside the prime minister’s residence and demanded jobs.
Their next move was to enter the headquarters of the PJD, where they clashed with law enforcement officers. Some young demonstrators were injured in the fray.
Protesters said that going into the PJD’s headquarters was just a warning and that they would see their “programme of activism” through to the end.
Mohamed Bord, a member of the co-ordinating group of graduates, confirmed to Magharebia that they would not give up until their demands were met.
Despite everything, the government is standing firm. Benkirane’s position is that the government cannot break the law by recruiting graduates directly into the public sector. He said that the protesters who want to be given jobs must apply to take part in the competitive recruitment process.
Youth unemployment remains a complex issue in Morocco. The government has pledged to find solutions, such as adapting training to the needs of the job market and encouraging the private sector to recruit graduates.
Political analyst Ahmed Chemsi said that the resumption of the protests will make things tricky for the Benkirane government, which has several other grievances besides those of young people to deal with.
“The dilemma is a serious one. But the government must come back to the negotiating table with the groups of young people in order to find a way out of this,” Chemsi said. In addition to jobs, the analyst said a strategy to help young people incorporating social, cultural and political components needs to be developed
During his latest speech on August 20th, King Mohammed VI called for strategies to help young people and underlined that young Moroccans “have legitimate ambitions to become socially and professionally integrated, in particular through supported access to employment”.
He added that access to housing, healthcare and community services, sports and leisure facilities, integration centres and ICT facilities needs to be provided.
The king lamented that what has been done so far falls short of young people’s ambitions and expectations, as gaps and problems remain.
Too many young people from different backgrounds “still face certain constraints in their lives or in terms of their prospects for the future”, the monarch said.