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Morocco: IndustriALL family continues to grow

2 April, 2015On the occasion of the eleventh ordinary National Congress and celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of the largest Moroccan national center UMT, Union Marocaine du Travail, on 20 and 21 March 2015 in Casablanca, IndustriALL Global Union intensifies its active work in the country with its seven current, and a series of potential, affiliates.

Formed by 2000 delegates, 60 local and regional unions, 22 sectorial federations, youth and women organizations and 36 national unions, the congress of the UMT was held under the motto of "our revitalized and united struggle continues for a society of freedom, democracy and social justice”.

The large event also welcomed important political figures and international delegates with an intensive debate on international matters and strategic issues affecting daily lives and the future of Moroccan workers. The delegates underlined the importance of the regional, national and international environment characterized by significant economic and political changes that negatively impact on the social rights and gains of the workers, requiring the trade union movement to follow new strategies.

During the Arab uprisings over the last couple of years, Morocco has remained a relatively stable country and continued to attract foreign investment, particularly in IndustriALL sectors. Some of the most prominent auto companies such as Renault have been settled in the country as an important base of manufacturing. The French company’s large investment in the town of Melloussa, close to Tangiers, manufactures low-cost cars under the Dacia and Renault brands at the plant. Likewise another French-based auto giant PSA Peugeot Citroen has an engineering centre in Morocco to increase its footprint in the region.

Another important booming sector is reported to be Aerospace which already received major multinational companies’ attention such as Boeing, Safran, Airbus, Bombardier and United Technologies. According to the information provided, the current level of direct employment in the sector will be doubled by the year 2020. There are many other global companies in the country such as Delphi, Leoni, Dell, GDF Suez, Total.

While multinational companies arrive in the country and entrepreneurs accrued benefits after economic liberalization over the last decade, Moroccan unions keep up uniting their forces against low wages, deterioration in working conditions and rampant disrespect for fundamental trade union rights. Recently three national centers UMT (Union Marocaine du Travail), Confédération Démocratique du Travail (CDT) and Fédération Démocratique du Travail (FDT) joined their forces to exert pressure on the government for defending and advancing workers’ rights and interests.

Until the end of 2014, IndustriALL had two affiliates from UMT and one from CDT. The IndustriALL Executive Committee accepted four more affiliates from CDT in its meeting in December 2014. IndustriALL’s Moroccan affiliates already formed a National Council to coordinate their actions at international level. The active networks for women and youth groups are working in concrete cooperation to increase these special groups’ weight inside the sectorial organizations.

IndustriALL met with all its current and potential affiliates individually and through the National Affiliates’ Council. The number of members of IndustriALL Global Union will increase very soon since the potential unions organizing important multinational such as Renault, Peugeot, Leoni, Total are about to finalize their membership processes. The National Affiliates’ Council raised the common request on working actively on union organizing, precarious work and industrial policy. IndustriALL will also do particular activity on auto and aerospace industries.

“Moroccan unions have great potential for union cooperation and international solidarity,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. “Such activism, militancy and spirit of struggle in all our discussions is really promising and encouraging. I believe involvement and integration of women and youth in Moroccan unions is exemplary”.