The Moroccan government has initiated talks with various trade unions with the aim of improving the social conditions of workers. Although the government seems to have decided to fulfill its promises, after a decision to revise upward its wage policy from this year, some union members remain dissatified over the government’s failure to address the issue at a most crucial time.
The various rounds of social dialogue in 2009 between the Moroccan government and unions have, seemingly, not been in vain, as workers’ demands seem to have been met with a favorable response.
According to credible sources, a meeting on December 21 allowed both parties to thrash out some of the major points on issues that remain unresolved. They concern, essentially, the removal of salary scales 1 to 4, and their placement in salary scale 5.
Allowances for officials concerned will be applied from January 2010, with a retrospective effect from 2008. This increases minimum monthly wage in the public sector from 1560 to around 2400 Dirham.
The measure is set to benefit some 47,500 employees, and is aimed at reducing wage disparities in public service as well as improving the income categories listed in the lower scales.
According to the unions, benefits for remote and isolated regions have also been reviewed. Education and health officials are to get a 700 dirhams per month, as a net benefit, in the shortest possible time, pending the generalization of this measure to other sectors.
This involves over 35,000 employees.
Despite these developments, some trade unionists remain dissatisfied over other unresolved issues, including wage increases. This has always been the cause of contention.
The Moroccan Labor Union accuses the government for refusing to address the issue at a most crucial time when employees need their salaries to be adjusted. Negotiations have been adjourned for 2010/2011.
The government ministers, on the other side, have resorted to reassuring speeches. The Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, Jamal Rahmani, insists that the government is preparing a study on the wage system. The exercise is set to review the current salary scale.
Jamal Rahmani also asserts that the reduction of two points of the income tax will from January 2010 raise wages in both the public and private sectors.
He revealed that, last year, the government was more concerned with safeguarding a maximum number of employments in the private sector through some drastic measures to counter the vagaries of the crisis.
He said that by supporting some 400 companies, more than eleven thousand employees retained their jobs.
Meanwhile, the unions have also called for the establishment of sectoral dialogue in order to deal with complaints from various sectors including education and local governments. The government is preparing an agenda to revive the sectoral negotiations.
For the time being, the Moroccan government has promised to fulfill its engagement towards the unions.