With scheduled sit-ins, protests, and marches, 2019 in Morocco is set to kick off in an angry mood.
Rabat – Trade unions have sounded an alarm bell, threatening to start 2019 with a “month of anger” of sustained protests and sit-in campaigns until the government reconsiders abandoning the “social dialogue.”
The Moroccan Labor Union (UMT), the Democratic Labor Federation (CDT), and other advocacy groups have announced that January will be a month of protests. Should the government fail to review its position on improving working conditions, especially raising wages, workers will boycott their jobs and take to the streets, the groups said.
In late November, a number of trade unions failed to reach consensus with the government on workers’ wage demands. UMT and CDT representatives slammed the negotiations, saying that Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani was insensitive to workers’ concerns.
The groups now want to revive the “social dialogue,” saying that the first month of the coming year will be entirely devoted to bringing the government back to the negotiating table.
Brandishing threats of “protests, strikes, sit-ins and regional and national marches,” the organizations, Assabah reported in its weekend edition, count on their mobilization ability to compel the government to relent.
Earlier this week, UMT Secretary General Miloudi Moukharik said that workers’ anger has been spurred by the government’s perceived lack of political will and workers’ “constantly degrading conditions.”
Moukharik’s statement highlighted job insecurity, “precarious working conditions,” the high unemployment rate, rising prices, and “the violation of pensioners’ rights and workers’ labor freedom” as the reasons behind the calls for general strikes. Offering a grim picture of Morocco’s economy, Moukharik said the government is the primary actor responsible for the situation.
Meanwhile, CDT, the other “angry group of workers,” has released a specific protest schedule. Starting on January 11, the group will hold a march on the Tangier road. Their protest motives include the government’s withdrawal from the social dialogue, “lack of political will,” and the “systematic violation of labor freedom.”
While UMT and CDT have been the most vocal critics of the government’s social policies, the month of anger has garnered support from other trade unions. Three teachers unions have joined the club of “angry workers.”
Earlier this week, the national federation of teaching professionals, the free teachers’ federation, and the national teachers’ federation announced the dates of their protest movements. The groups have called for general strikes January 2-4. They will hold a sit-in in front of the education ministry headquarters on January 2 as well as a march on Parliament, they said.