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Morocco : Electricity workers strike against privatization

D 2 juin 2015     H 05:31     A IndustriALL Global Union     C 0 messages

On 25 May, thousands of electricity workers from Fédération nationale des travailleurs de l’énergie (FNTE) in Morocco took action following the government’s decision to halt social dialogue on their unilateral privatization program in the Casablanca region. Around 9,000 workers went on strike at production, transmission and distribution sites across the country.

Despite IndustriALL Global Union affiliate FNTE’s long-standing demands to keep electricity service public, authorities signed an agreement on 26 September 2014 to privatize the electricity distribution in the Casablanca region. The government ignored consultations with the FNTE, part of national center Union Marocaine du Travail, on the impact on workers and their families.

After several actions led by FNTE, the government finally engaged in negotiations with the trade union. Marathon negotiations led to a "Framework Agreement" drafted by FNTE as a platform for solutions for workers’ and employees’ problems in such substantial transformations.
But in a recent provocative action, ignoring workers’ rights and social dialogue the governor of Casablanca and the general management halted negotiations and instructed the implementation of the privatization agreement by 31 May 2015.

From Mohamed Zeroual, general secretary of FNTE, says :
In addition to its legal and technical shortcomings, such agreement will have negative direct and indirect consequences for workers and employees, as well as for the inhabitants of the Casablanca region. We hold the authorities responsible for all negatives effects.

After the strike on 25 may, instead of listening to workers and reestablishing negotiations, authorities chose another provocative line of action and decided to immediately take over the sales agencies. In response to management’s escalations, the FNTE announced another two-day strike in the seven concerned sales agencies.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, says :
IndustriALL is deeply concerned with the escalation and the lack of social dialogue and negotiation with workers’ representatives. Workers’ rights must be central to any decision on changing ownership of such strategic public service like electricity. IndustriALL supports the FNTE’s legitimate struggle to achieve security for all workers in the sector.