Morocco: 41 workers at Casablanca plant regularised

The UMT union local at the plant in Casablanca, Morocco, reports that 41 workers have been regularised in the last 3 months as a result of a fierce union campaign.

The demand for regularisation for these workers had a long history: Back in 2004, the union at Coca-Cola in Casablance signed a short agreement with management pledging that within 5 years, all long-term temporary workers would be made permanent. However in 2010, 6 years after those signatures were made, there were still 32 workers that had not been transferred to regular employment, despite the unions numerous demands, and despite the fact that they had been working for he company long-term - some up to 20 years. 

The UMT union local hence decidedto make regularisation of those workers one of the central demands in their collective bargaining. But the company refused categorically to keep their promises. In fact management did propose to regularise the workers - but in locations in a far distance from Casablanca. After the union refused, they proposed to regularise them in the course of the next 2 years. However keeping in mind the broken promise of the last 5 years, the union would not accept this either. 

"We therefore mobilised our membership" explains Ahmed Laazir, member of the union local committee. "We organised protests in front of the factory, in front of distribution centres, and at the headquarters of  Coca-Cola Export in central Casablanca. We also started a media campaign. The issue of the management's broken promised got also discussed by the IUF delegation in talks with HR management in Atlanta. 

Regular workers participated equally in the campaign. Ahmed Laazir: "Management then organised meetings with workers in the presales and distribution locations, led by the vice general director in order to lower the tension and cool down the fury about the abuse of the temporary workers; but the workers showed their discontent by refusing to have breakfast with the manager, protesting against the lamentable situation, pressure against the union and the refusal to take into consideration the unions demands.  

Only after this did management finally change course: instead of two waves within two years, they committed to regularise the temporary workers  within three months - June, July and August 2011. 9 workers which had not originally been included into the 2004 settlement also benefited from the regularisation drive. 

We are satisfied that management finally changed their position in this important question, and we are optimistic that a better cooperation will now be possible. There is still a lot to do.  Our objective is to totally stop casual work and to arrive at a CBA which will regulate a number of pressing problems. But this success is already a big step into the right direction."

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