SONASID/ArcelorMittal falling short on labour rights in Morocco

25.05.2010

Shop stewards from SONASID/ArcelorMittal demand respect of labour law and of the Global Agreement on Health & Safety at Moroccan sites.

MOROCCO: An IMF monitoring mission met on May 19, 2010 with shop stewards from the SONASID/ArcelorMittal's production sites at Nador and Jorf Lasraf. The workers' representatives reiterated their dissatisfaction for the continuing violation by the Moroccan management of the local legal provisions on collective bargaining and representation, complaining about the management's refusal to engage in constructive dialogue that is causing growing tensions among workers.

While recognizing significant improvements in health & safety standards with the development of a culture of safety since the arrival of ArcelorMittal, shop stewards brought very disturbing information to the IMF attention. The Moroccan management, presumably in an effort to meet the set work accident objectives, is reported to put in place all sorts of pressure on accident victims with the purpose of hiding accidents. Workers are reported to be submitted to psychological pressure and threatened of loosing bonuses and other benefits and career opportunities to convince them not to report accidents.

Dissatisfaction was also expressed at the poor implementation of the Global Health & Safety Agreement; its provisions, it has been indicated, seem to be often respected only for the sake of façade, while corrective measures agreed as indispensable by the H&S Committee are not really implemented with the endless postponement of deadlines.

Although not being the majority share holder, ArcelorMittal is obviously perceived as by far the most influential actor in SONASID management choices. Shop stewards showed bewilderment and surprise at the apparent lack of interest by the international ArcelorMittal management for such behaviour by its Moroccan partner. Contrary to a tradition of constructive industrial relations, the management style introduced at SONASID in recent years signals a substantial lack of respect for the local law and contradicts ArcelorMittal's asserted HR philosophy.

The shop stewards have requested the IMF to support their demand for an urgent fact finding mission of the international committee to the sites of SONASID/ArcelorMittal to monitor the implementation of the Global Health & Safety Agreement.

An international trade union coordination meeting is planned for implementation in Morocco in September 2010, with the participation of unions organizing workers of ArcelorMittal and its local partners in countries of Maghreb and other regions.