The Moroccan government gave in to public sector workers’ demands as more organizations called for general strikes.
Rabat – Morocco’s public health officials and the Ministry of Health have found common ground on raising Moroccan doctors’ working standards, easing tensions in a sector that threatened to go on strike by mid-January.
In a recent joint press release, the Independent Union of Public Sector Doctors (SIMSP) and the Ministry of Health announced that authorities “have taken into account the majority of doctors’ demands” and are setting a mechanism to ensure that the agreement is implemented.
Like their counterparts in the Moroccan public sector, doctors at public health institutions are demanding improved working conditions, especially wage raises, leave, and retirement.
The press statement emphasized the two parties “commitment to restore trust and restart the social dialogue” to improve both health practitioners’ working conditions and the quality of treatment at Moroccan public hospitals.
Government representatives and doctors’ union representatives reached the agreement at a meeting in Rabat on December 24, after months of disagreements that unions attributed to the government’s refusal to cooperate.
The agreement also mentioned the need to revive the country’s ineffective medical assistance system to make the country’s healthcare more inclusive.
While satisfied with the terms of the agreement, healthcare professionals are not yet celebrating. They said they are waiting until the government translates into “concrete action” the principles of the joint press statement.
SIMSP President Abdellah El Montadar Alaoui said: “This agreement in principle is a positive step for public sector doctors. Now we are waiting for implementation.” Alaoui added, “The ministry has taken our concerns into account. Now it is up to the government to act.”
Key among doctors’ demands is a considerable revision of their salary scale.
Currently paid at a scale of 336 (the equivalent of other government employees with master’s degree), doctors are requesting that the scale be upgraded to 509 (equivalent to government employees with a doctorate, or “Bac +8” in the Moroccan system) which they say is more reflective of the length of medical school.
The agreement comes as other professional sectors threaten to hit the country with “a month of anger” of protests and marches from early to mid-January.
Teachers’ unions announced late last month that they will march tomorrow, January 3. As no announcement has yet been issued to the contrary, the march is expected to proceed tomorrow from Parliament to the Ministry of Education.