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Morocco: the challenge of the success of the social dialogue for “Al-Othmani”

2018-09-16

Following the call of the Moroccan King, “Mohamed VI”, urging the executive branch to work on the success of his "dialogue" and to reach a solution that would end the growing social tension in the country; everyone is talking about "social dialogue" in Morocco,

Although that the Moroccan unions have continued their pressure since 2011 to reach a response regarding their pending file, the King's last call is a good opportunity to pressure “Al-Othmani” government to meet the legitimate demands of the central trade unions.

The observers consider that the prime minister, "Saad Eddin Othmani" has only to be flexible and has to reach an agreement with the trade unions’ representatives to come out with a social charter that would satisfy the king and thus abandon the previous offers rejected by the trade unions’ representatives.

The ball is in the government court

Morocco witnessed periods of social dialogue, established in 1996 after a joint declaration between the government, trade unions and the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM) to identify specific rules for negotiations that eventually led to the signing of four agreements "1996, 2000, 2003 and 2011".

According to the observers in Morocco, the king's speech, the government's promises summarized in the 2019 fiscal bill’s memorandum, which includes four social priorities, namely, "to give priority to the social policies and social protection programs, the acceleration in the success of the social dialogue and the promotion of the purchasing power, in addition to the sectoral economic strategies to provide the adequate conditions for the economic takeoff, the promotion of investment and entrepreneurship, and the continuation of major reforms" make the ball in the court of “Al-Othman’s government to make the" social dialogue "successful .

The constitutional expert “Rachid Lazraq” said in a media statement that “Al-Othmani” government is expected to set the law of social dialogue in its legislative level after the king's speech through the activation of Chapter VIII of the constitution specified for the contents of contract between the unions and the government.

"Rachid Lazraq" pointed to the need to institutionalize the social dialogue and move away from the policies of the previous governments that entered into conflicts with the unions instead of devoting the dialogue between the social partners, which is a way to achieve peace and come out with a consensus through the table of negotiations.

The intransigence of the authority

Despite the recommendations of the king of Morocco to work on the success of the social dialogue and reach decisions that would achieve civil peace, in addition to the insistence of trade unions on their "legitimate" demands, some semi-official sources talked about the government’s intransigence.

These sources pointed out that “Al-Othmani” government insisted on the adoption of its old offer concerning the increase of the employees’ wages, which stipulates an increase of 300 dirhams divided into 3 years for the employees whose income is less than 5500 dirhams, and 100 as an additional renumeration for each child, in addition to 700 dirhams as a compensation for the workers in remote areas.

The same sources said that the government will re-adopt the same offer in the next rounds of dialogues and that it will officially start to implement it by a unilateral decision, next January, despite the refusal of the unions to these decisions, which indicates the continued intransigence of the government.

“Khaled Al-Alami Al-Houwair”, a leader in the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CTD) said in a statement to the national newspaper, “Hespress”, that the government is responsible for the continuation of this conflict because of the officials’ lack of the real will to react positively to this miserable social situation.

“Abdel Hamid Al-Fatihi”, the general secretary of the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CTD), expressed his refusal to enter into a social dialogue that excludes the trade union parties within the government’s intransigence. In addition, he pointed out: “the government has relied on the remaining trade union gains and refused to respond to the file.”

The trade unions’ responsibility

Despite the unionists’ talk about the intransigence of “Al-Othmani” government to achieve their legitimate demands and commit to the king’s recommendations, the Moroccan unions have also an important role in the success of the expected social dialogue.

“Al-Othmani” government has held the unions responsible for halting the social dialogue. In fact, “Abdelhak Al-Arabi”, the adviser of the prime minister, who is in charge of the social file, said: “the halt of the dialogue was not because of the government, it was rather by the unions, as they were the ones asking to stop the social dialogue until next September, i.e. with the issuing of the financial bill of 2019."

In this respect, “Khaled Al-Alami Al-Houwair”, a leader in the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CTD), said that unions have an important role in the success of the social dialogue, while maintaining their defense of the working class’ interests.

In contrast, “Al-Houwair” spoke about the government's policy of repress towards trade unions’ voices that defend the workers. Moreover, he pointed out that the confederation had already proposed the formation of one committee, which would be attended by the three parties (unions, employers and government, in addition to the division of the dialogue into three committees.

He also pointed out that the unions called on the government to take its responsibilities and to implement the previous commitments, including the April 26 agreement, which has been blocked for more than seven years, and to stop eradicating the social gains.

work of its efforts to promote the social dialogue and its success to serve the working class to ask him for a dialogue that would respond to the "legitimate and fair" demands of the workers. Besides, it expressed its rejection of the offer made by the government months ago.

The “confederation “called also on holding a tripartite negotiating meeting, with the presence of the government, employers and trade unions, noting that the disruption of the social dialogue explains the continuing and growing protests against all forms of injustice, in the various regions of Morocco.

The Democratic Labor Organization confirmed that the unions play an important role in the success of the social dialogue and that the government led to the social deterioration through the continuation of its austerity policy, releasing the prices, freezing the role of the competition council and making the same promises about the control of prices.

The organization stressed that in light of the unions’ endeavors and serious movements; the government does nothing, only raising slogans for the media, aiming at the disinformation, in addition to the creation of fake investment projects.

In light of the continued quarrels between the government and trade unions, the observers believe that it is necessary to continue the social dialogue and find solutions that are capable of the ending of the "boiling” and the outbreak of the labor and popular protests.

“Karim Ayech”, a researcher in the political science, pointed to the inevitability of establishing a charter that would structure and organize the social dialogue to serve the interests of Morocco amid the king's demands and the pressure of trade unions.