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Moroccan miners end underground protest

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21 December, 2020As negotiations with the employer over a breached agreement have started, the 100 mine workers in Morocco who spent the last ten days 700 metres underground have suspended their sit-in.

100 Moroccan mine workers have spent the last ten days 700 metres underground in the Jebel Aouam mine near M’rirt in Khénifra province, after management of Compagnie Minière de Touissit (CMT) failed to implement an agreement with the union. Another 200 workers protested above ground, nearly halting production all together.

Workers demanded that management honour and implement the agreement signed with l’Union Marocaine du travail (UMT) in 2019, guaranteeing improved living conditions, better working conditions in the mine, and the provision of occupational health and safety measures.

After UMT and IndustriALL Global Union contacted the Moroccan Prime Minister, an urgent meeting took place between Miloudi Moukharik, UMT general secretary, and the general director of the mine. During the meeting, a framework for resolving the conflict was agreed on.

A follow-up meeting will take place on 24 December to negotiate workers’ demands of increased wages and compensation, working conditions in the mine, the issue of subcontracted workers, and a commitment to protect freedom of association, especially with regards to the striking workers.

Following the meeting and the guarantees of negotiations, workers decided to suspend the sit-in.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:

“Solidarity works! We congratulate UMT and the workers for the progress and welcome the important steps towards maintaining workers’ safety, as well as the launch of negotiations. We urge the company to seize the opportunity to engage in genuine dialogue with the union for a sustainable production and a respect for workers’ legitimate rights.”