Critics and labor organizations argue that the project is a reflection of how the government stifles inclusive social dialogue to have its own way around vital social issues
Rabat – The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has joined the chorus of voices requesting fundamental changes in Morocco’s labor legislation.
In an email dated August 1, sent to to the Moroccan employment ministry, AFL-CIO urged the North African country to reconsider its current labor law project as it “constitutes a violation of the most fundamental and constitutional rights.”
The emailed letter, which was signed by Cathy Feingold, AFL-CIO’s International Director, and a copy of which Morocco World News received, directly addressed Mohamed Yatim, Morocco’s Minister of Employment and Vocational Training.
“I am writing to express our deep concern regarding the propagation of the draft national legislation regarding the right to strike which has been presented to the parliament of Morocco,” starts the letter.
The text of the draft on the right to strike was, according to the American trade union, presented to the Moroccan parliament without inclusive dialogue with all major Moroccan stakeholders in the labor sector, especially trade and labor unions.
For AFL-CIO, the fact that the draft was introduced to parliament “without prior tripartite negotiations” is “a violation of the most fundamental and constitutional rights.”
While Moroccan law recognizes the right to strike, AFL-CIO feels that the country’s legislation on the matter—both existing laws and the draft law being considered at the parliament—falls short on some essential aspects of workers’ rights.
“The right to strike is one of the most significant elements of the right of freedom of association and is a means to ensure that the working class can defend their moral and economic rights,” the email pointed out.
In Morocco, however, AFL-CIO email went on to suggest, workers and trade or labor organizations are denied basic rights, including the protection of “the right to organize and bargain collectively,” which Morocco ratified as part of the International Labor Organization’s Convention 98.
An essential part of AFL-CIO’s frustration with the Moroccan legislation on strike is the criminalization by the Moroccan law of some forms of workers’ strike.
“The kingdom of Morocco has not yet abrogated Article 288 of the Criminal Code, which imposes grave penalties, including imprisonment, upon any person who attempts to his/her legal right to organize any form of industrial action.”
In light of its complaints, AFL-CIO urged Morocco, among other things, to “withdraw the draft legislation from the parliament,” “amend its national legislation to reflect ILO conventions,” allow for more inclusive social dialogue with trade unions, and “respect trade unions’ rights and freedoms” by upholding international labor standards.
The email comes after domestic actors lambasted the legislation project which the government introduced to the parliament in April of this year.
Morocco’s Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT), one of the country’s most prominent trade unions, has been poignantly critical of the government-sponsored draft law on the right to strike.
Long before AFL-CIO, CDT has relentlessly been calling on the government to withdraw its project and initiate a more inclusive dialogue with all trade unions to ensure a more comprehensive reflection on amending Morocco’s labor law.
“We reject the form and continent of this text, as well as the approach the government used when drafting it,” a CDT spokesperson said recently. That spokesperson, like a number of other critics, argued that the project is a reflection of how the Moroccan government stifles inclusive social dialogue to have its own way around vital issues.