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For respect and dignity, the miners of Touissit take direct action and occupy their mine: Solidarity!
According to Aziz Rebbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment of Morocco, « the mining sector is a pillar of the economic and social development of the country ». Economic development may be, but socially development certainly not. Working conditions in mines often remain primitive, whether in terms of wages, health or safety.
Take the example of the Mont Aouâm mine (Jbel Aouâm) located in Mrirt, the second municipality in the province of Khenifra, in the Moroccan Middle Atlas. It belongs to the Mining Company of Touissit (CMT), Moroccan leader in the production of silver lead concentrates. This company is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange, among its main shareholders are the company OSEAD MAROC MINING, itself a subsidiary of the OSEAD FUND, and the CIMR (Moroccan Interprofessional Pension Fund). One would therefore expect that with a shareholder made up of a pension fund, the company would treat its employees well. Well not at all!
Already in 2019, the miners had to start a protest movement on basic points: the improvement of working conditions and their social situations, as well as the guarantee of the health security measures essential for working in the mines. The unions had rush to supervise the movement, and had negotiated a protocol with the management which should finally take into account the health and working conditions of minors. To show the importance and the seriousness of the protocol, a representative of the Minister of Mines had even made the trip to testify to the signature and thus signify that the Minister, also a member of the PJD (Justice and Development Party, Islamist), would be attentive to its execution. Of course, in return, employees had to commit to increasing their productivity and achieving higher production goals. The employers never give anything for free, they always seek to increase their profit and therefore our exploitation …
One year after the union-boss agreement, the workers did their accounts: they kept their word and achieved 98% of the production targets set out in the protocol, despite a complicated 2020 year due to the Covid crisis. . On the boss’s side, it’s very simple: nothing. He didn’t put into place what he said he would do …
So on December 10, 2020, the miners said enough, and took direct action. They occupied their work tool to put pressure on the boss: 100 striking miners held the mine, 700 meters underground. And 200 others remained on the surface, alternating demonstrations and sit-ins of solidarity in order to popularize the strike and also to organize the logistics and the supplies of the occupants. For the despotism and stubbornness of the administration have grown to the point of prohibiting the supply of food and a living for the miners holding the sit-in at the bottom of the mine.
Of course this situation was unbearable for the unions: the non-respect of the protocol by the boss while the workers had worked more, clearly shows the uselessness (and even the perversity) of these union-boss negotiations. The fact that the workers decided to take direct action by occupying their workplace, in order to put pressure on the boss, could set a bad example for other workers if their struggle is successful, namely that of self-organizing in without reformist unions … the UMT (Moroccan Labor Union) and its international organization (Industriall Global Union) therefore urgently contacted the Prime Minister to draw his attention to the risk that this situation could pose and to the urgency to demine the situation by opening new negotiations. The message was well received and in less time that needed to say it, Miloudi Moukharik, the Secretary General of UMT, came in person into the discussion with the Director of the mine … Of course, the first thing the union asked the strikers to do before opening negotiations was to end their sit-down strike. The strikers therefore abandoned the mine on December 21, after 10 difficult days of occupation.
The leader of Industriall Global Union then congratulated » the UMT and the workers for the progress made. We welcome the important steps towards launching negotiations. We urge the company to seize the opportunity to engage in genuine dialogue with the union for sustainable production and respect for workers’ legitimate rights. « . He urges the company to seize the opportunity to engage in a dialogue: in other words, the union is crying to the boss for him to agree to speak to them, but the union hasn’t gotten anything yet.
A new meeting to resume negotiations is expected to begin on December 24 to discuss demands for wage increases, improved working conditions in the mine, the issue of contract and agency workers, and a management commitment to respect the right of association and not to fire the strikers.
The miners have shown exemplary courage and strength by occupying their mine 700 meters underground, in conditions which are dangerous to their health. Hopefully they will not be betrayed once again by the unions in the negotiations.
In the meantime, let’s give them as much support as possible. For example by sending emails to the CMT management to demand:
– Respect and dignity for the miners, who are the only creators of wealth in the CMT.
– Worthy wages allowing a living, for all employees whatever their status
– Dignified working conditions, in compliance with international standards for worker safety and the environment
– Respect for freedom of association and expression, as well as the right to strike.
Solidarity companions on both sides of the Mediterranean
To contact the management of the company:
Fax Directorate General: ° + 212 (0) 5 22 78 68 71
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +212 (0) 6 61 31 32 95 / (0) 5 22 78 68 61