Rabat – Moroccan workers’ representatives say they have had enough of the government’s reluctance to meet their demands.
After three months of fruitless discussions over improved working conditions, the groups are pointing accusatory fingers at the government, saying that they are no longer willing to tolerate the government’s passivity and perceived lack of interest in their daily struggles.
The relationship between Moroccan trade unions and government authorities has been a bit of a roller coaster in the past three months, oscillating between public or written protestations, half-hearted compromise, a static social dialogue, and strike announcements.
The two entities now seem to have finally switched to a full-throated Tom & Jerry mode. In the latest development, especially marked by the failure of the ongoing social dialogue, trade union representatives are accusing the El Othmani-led government of treason and lack of concern.
The news, reported by Al Akhbar in its August 26 edition, comes in the wake of a three-month long dialogue between the government and workers’ representatives.
Trade unions demanded improvement of working conditions, with the most vital elements being salary increase and a revision of family allocations from MAD 200 to 300 for each of the first three born to a family. While the government agreed in principle in July and promised that implementation would follow, nothing has changed in the past months.
In an unsparing attack on the government’s failure to deliver on its promises, an association of trade unions described the prevailing situation as an “unacceptable step back and treason.”
The collective statement also urged the government to start working towards signing the official decrees for the implementation of all the measures agreed upon three months ago.
Should the government fail to positively respond to the unions’ cri de coeur, stressed the statement, the coming months will be a constant scene of public strikes and protests.
In an attempt to justify the delay in meeting its agreement with the group of worker representatives, the government said that the long wait was due to the summer holidays. It promised, yet again, to deliver as soon as possible.
But trade unions say they have waited numerous times, and for far too long. The biting tone of the message suggests they have no intention of waiting for months again, only to be told on the due date to wait some more. They do not seem to have bought the government’s summer holiday excuse.
The statement reads: “The government has evoked summer holidays as a reason why it delayed singing into a decree [the agreement]. But these are baseless allegations that do not justify the delay in signing an agreement many of us trade unionists grudgingly signed, given that some of us disagreed with many of the points it contained.”
The statement added that trade unions have already played their role by signing the terms of thé agreement, even though they did not feel at ease with some if the content. It noted that “the ball is now in the government’s court….” This latest episode of the broken social dialogue comes after teachers’ and doctors’ strikes.
For all the workers’ declared determination to take to the streets in case their demands are not met, the Moroccan government may drag its feet on delivery, testing the group’s resolve.
But the acrimonious tone of the trade union’s message suggests there are more strikes in store for the coming weeks should the government fail to deliver or convince the seemingly irritated workers to wait a little more.