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Date updated : 05-Feb-2016

Status: active

© 2016 IUF

Vicious union-busting at Moroccan fish canner DOHA

Over 500 workers in the Moroccan city of Agadir have been on strike since March 2015 at DOHA, part of the wealthy BICHA Group. DOHA workers, nearly 95% of whom are women, produce tinned fish and other products for worldwide export. The company, with the help of compliant legal and political authorities, has sought to dissolve the union, dismiss its members, criminalize and punish the strikers and confiscate the union leaders' home.

Workers at the Agadir DOHA plant formed a branch of the CDT in 2011. After a 20-day strike, local authorities under pressure from the popular movement sweeping the region urged the company to recognize the union. Beginning in 2014, however, management moved to have the union dissolved, imposed its own workplace delegates and stepped up pressure on workers, including denying paid toilet breaks. On March 6, 2015, management dismissed 51 workers; 45 of them were women, and 25 were CDT members. This provoked a strike, which continues to this day,

The company retaliated by hiring 500 new workers, in violation of the labour code, seeking punitive financial damages against 51 active union members and claiming MAD 3,000,000 (EUR 278,000) in damages from union leader Rahmoun Abdellah. Since Abdellah cannot pay the fine, the court ordered 'precautionary confiscation' of his apartment, whose mortgage he is paying. The union has held solidarity sit-ins and protest marches as Abdellah's case has moved through the appeals process and the courts uphold the confiscatory penalty for defending his members.

You can support their struggle! Use the form below to send a message to the DOHA company, calling on it to recognize the union, reinstate the dismissed workers, drop all lawsuits against them and the union president and negotiate in good faith. The message is in French, followed by an English translation.

Your name: [required]
Your email: [required]
Your union/organization:
Country:
Here is the message you are sending:

A : Lahcen Bicha, directeur général, Les Conserveries Marocaines DOHA

Monsieur,

Je suis indigné/e d’apprendre que la société DOHA viole brutalement les droits humains de ses employés/es. La direction a refusé de reconnaître la CDT comme représentant des travailleurs/euses de l’usine d’Agadir. Elle a également provoqué une grève en mars 2015 en licenciant plusieurs membres du syndicat, embauché des travailleurs/euses de remplacement en violation du Code du travail et cherché à imposer des sanctions coûteuses aux travailleurs/euses qui défendent leurs droits, dont la confiscation de l’appartement du président du syndicat Rahmoun Abdellah.
Je vous demande de réintégrer les travailleurs/euses licenciés/es en mars 2015, d’abandonner les poursuites à leur encontre et de reconnaître et négocier de bonne foi avec la CDT pour résoudre tous les problèmes liés à ce conflit. L’inaction de votre part ne pourra que nuire à la réputation du pays et à son important marché à l’exportation.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de ma considération.

********************

To Lahcen Bicha, General Director, Les Conserveries Marocaines DOHA
Dear Mr. Bicha

I am outraged to learn that DOHA is brutally violating the human rights of its employees. Management has refused to recognise the CDT as the workers’ representative at the Agadir factory, provoked a strike in March 2015 by dismissing a number of union members, hired replacement workers in violation of the labour code and is seeking to inflict financially onerous penalties on workers who are defending their rights, including the confiscation of union leader Rahmoun Abdellah’s apartment.

I call on you reinstate the workers dismissed in March 2015, drop all lawsuits against the workers and their union president and recognize and negotiate in good faith with the CDT to resolve all issues in this conflict. Failure to do so will inevitably damage the country’s reputation abroad and in important export markets.

Yours sincerely

If you wish to send your own message and not use this text, please open your email client and paste these addresses into the To field:
doha@conserveriesdoha.com
l.bicha@conserveriesdoha.com



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