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Veolia Moroccan subsidiary flouts labour laws and underpays wages

8 May, 2020500 employees of Veolia’s Moroccan subsidiary Amanor are stopped from receiving state aid during the Covid-19 pandemic, as the employer is refusing to register the workers with the national social security office.

Amanor, a subsidiary of French multinational Veolia, operating in water and waste management, and energy services, is responsible for mass dismissals, including of the union leader, non-payment of contractual benefits, an all-out attack on the union, and now a blocking of state aid for 500 workers because management refuses to register the workers to receive social security during the pandemic.

IndustriALL Global Union Sector Director Tom Grinter says:

“Sacking workers for demanding their unpaid benefits? Openly refusing to respect the national labour law? Vindictively blocking workers from receiving pandemic state aid? Disgusting. Veolia must fix this immediately.”

Workers at Amanor are unionized under Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT) and covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), signed in November 2017. That CBA was breached in October 2019 when management stopped paying the shift rotation benefit of 571 dirhams (US$57). The following month management stopped paying the 250 dirhams (US$25) transport benefit, at a time when negotiations were advanced for a renewed CBA.

The cuts in benefits were deemed illegal by the official Labour Inspector during a process in which the general manager openly stated that he does not recognise Moroccan labour law.

After exhausting all possibilities of dialogue with management, the union began protesting in December 2019. Warning strikes were conducted with two demands: the restoration of the removed benefits, and the official integration into the parent company Veolia.

Intervention and mediation from the Tangier Governor, and the national UMT could not stop the anti-union attacks by management. The company level union general secretary was dismissed without reason on 20 January, sparking an indefinite strike in all parts of the company and wide protests.

Management continued sacking workers trying to break their struggle, dismissing ten union reps and supporters at the end of January.

The company has since refused to reinstate all those dismissed, meaning that the indefinite strike now continues into its third month. With Morocco facing the global pandemic, the 500 affected workers and their families are facing dire hardship. Protesting workers are present at the company head offices in Tangier-Tetouan and Rabat, demanding justice.

Moroccan state aid is offered to workers throughout the country to get through the pandemic crisis. But this aid does not reach the 500 Amanor workers and their families because company management refuses to register them with the national social security office.

Parent company Veolia has very strong global commitments on human and trade union rights, with a public target of expanding access for its employees to “labour relations mechanisms”.