miners strike in Morocco

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David in Atlanta
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Aug 25 2007 15:58
miners strike in Morocco

I foound this article in Spanish about the strike but no other references.
http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/5699
Anyone have updates or more details?

Mark.
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Aug 25 2007 21:56

The CGT-Andalucia website has the same article with some pictures of the striking miners' camp.
http://www.novedadescgt.info/spip.php?article446
There's also an article about a meeting between the CGT-Andalucia and the UMT-Chaouen earlier this month.
http://www.novedadescgt.info/spip.php?article450
(The UMT is the Unión Marroqui del Trabajo or Moroccan Workers Union. Chaouen is a small city in northern Morocco)
The contact with the striking miners at Jbel Awam appears to have followed on from this meeting.

Mark.
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Aug 25 2007 22:56

Here is a rough translation of the article.

The CGT wrote:
Since the 4th of July this year, 200 miners at Jbel Awam have been on strike and are camped next to the mine, demanding the rehiring of those who have been fired and equal salaries and conditions for permanent and temporary staff. Those working as miners below ground are not recognised as such and are being treated as surface workers.

This means that for the 14 to 16 accidents at work every month there is no insurance cover for the subcontracted workers. The four fatal accidents a year bear witness to the savage and criminal exploitation by the Sociedad de Minas, the owners of the mine.

Agustin Gomez, responsible for international relations with the Maghreb for the CGT, paid a visit to the miners’ camp where an assembly set out the problems described above.

Also discussed was the pollution caused by the mine, which is poisoning the river, bringing out the ecological awareness of the workers who, at the same time as working in the mine, maintain their relationship with the land.

The absence of support from their own union, the UGTM, was also denounced. The miners have held two demonstrations in front of the union headquarters in Meknes denouncing the lack of support for union members at the mine.

The struggle continues, as does the camp of the 200 miners holding out with the struggle, staying in place until the final negotiations.

Milouda El Hankari, CGT-Andalucia

Mark.
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Sep 13 2007 11:46

There's a follow up article in Spanish here

The CGT wrote:
On Tuesday the 11th, at four in the morning, auxiliary forces and the royal gendarmerie invaded the miners' camp at Jbel Awam which has been running since the 4th of July. Children, women and men were dispersed violently by the forces of repression. 29 workers have been arrested and taken to the gendarmerie headquarters at M'rirt. Families and friends of those arrested have been gathered in front of the headquarters since Wednesday, waiting for them to be released. It is the second time that the workers have been attacked by the forces of repression. Two months ago a number of miners were arrested and later released, but were made to move the camp from the gates of the mine to a location further away.

David in Atlanta
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Sep 13 2007 15:48

JH, if you have time could you publish your translations on the strike
http://libcom.org/node/add/news

David in Atlanta
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Sep 13 2007 15:52

oops

Mark.
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Sep 13 2007 17:23
David in Atlanta wrote:
JH, if you have time could you publish your translations on the strike
http://libcom.org/node/add/news

I'll do this. It will have to wait until tomorrow though.

Mark.
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Sep 17 2007 22:29

Another update in Spanish here
The hearing for the 29 miners arrested at Jbel Awam was today. They were accused of "an unauthorised gathering", "resistance to the forces of public order in exercise of their functions" and "impeding the freedom to work". There's no report on how it went yet. 24 of them had already been released provisionally, the other five were still in prison.

Mark.
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Sep 22 2007 21:18

Another update here
I'll translate some of this when I have time. The trial of the 29 miners continues on Tuesday. The charges include "unarmed rebellion" and sound quite serious - especially when you consider that there are political prisoners in Morocco serving four year terms for simply taking part in a Mayday demonstration where people allegedly chanted slogans against the monarchy.

Mark.
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Sep 25 2007 20:41

CGT-Andalucía, Monday September 24th

Economic solidarity with the miners of Jbel Awam

106 miners from the mine at Jbel Awam near M"rirt have been on strike since July 4th demanding some respect and dignity from the management.

They are fighting for:

1. Permanent contracts, with the company rather than subcontractors, and as miners. There are workers who have been there 12 years on a casual basis, working 600-700 metres below ground.

2. A demand to receive the legal minimum wage.

3. An improvement in working conditions to avoid the current level of accidents.

4. Protection and social security in the event of accidents at work (averaging four deaths a year and 15 injuries a month). At the moment casual workers have no social protection when there is an accident.

After twice being removed violently by the army from the camp next to the mine 29 workers have been arrested and charged and five of them are currently in prison. They are awaiting trial at the court of first instance in Khenifra. A sit-in is being held at the offices of their union, the UGTM, in M'rirt.

The situation of the 106 families is tremendously difficult and they need humanitarian assistance, above all with food; milk, sugar, oil... Given the distances (M'rirt is 120 km south of Fes) solidarity must be economic in order that they can buy what they need. We have been in touch with the assembly of the workers and one of them has been appointed to receive the money.

The fight of the miners at Jbel Awam is having major repercussions in Morocco. Solidarity with these workers is fundamental for putting an end to situations close to slavery which are found throughout Morocco, but especially in Imazighem areas such as M'rirt in the Middle Atlas.

We are calling for economic solidarity with the miners of Jbel Awam together with messages of support.

Send to:
(by Western Union, at any Post Office)

HAMID BOUZZEL
Address: Tighza-centre M rirt 54450 Morocco

Send information about donations to
cgtmaghreb@cgt.org.es

Mark.
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Sep 25 2007 22:11

CGT-Andalucía, Monday September 24th continued...

Solidarity with the miners of Jbel Awam

On July 4th 300 workers from the mine at Jbel Awam in the Middle Atlas went on strike to try and improve their working conditions. The management of the Compañía Minera de Touissit (CMT) refused all meetings with the trade unionists, but had the army sent in on successive occasions to stop the strikers paralysing production. After the intervention of the army some of the workers went back to work leaving 106 on strike.

The last intervention took place on the night of Monday, September 10th, with the arrest of 29 miners and numerous injuries. The following day between 500 and 1,000 people assembled in front of the police station at M’rirt. Later the demonstrators decided to go to the court at Khenifra 30 kilometres away.

It was the first time, after two months on strike, that the miners went to demonstrate in the town. The women have been playing an important role in the mobilisation since the intervention by the army. Some of them have been arrested and later released, and they have launched a call for solidarity throughout the country. It is necessary to pay the legal costs of the miners who are facing trial, and it is also the start of the school year with hundreds of strikers’ children lacking school materials and means of transport.

The majority of the strikers are casual workers on temporary contracts, employed by bogus subcontractors of the CMT. Only a third of the workers have contracts under the mining law. Officially the casual workers work in the open air. In reality for them the descent into the mine is basically a descent into hell; frequent accidents at work, the absence of social protection and reasonable safety equipment, poverty level wages, compulsory unpaid overtime and repression of trade unionists. When one of them fails to leave the mine - deaths average four a year – the company declares that he died outside and sends a few tens of euros to his family.

However the work produces great profits. At Jbel Awam lead is extracted together with silver and zinc. This will shortly be joined by gold. The mining company has been controlled for decades by European, and in particular French, capital. The last owner, the North East Group, recently sold it for 38.3 million euros to two financial funds, Truffle Capital and Moroccan Infrastructure Fund.

On Monday September 17th the court at Khenifra sent five of the arrested workers to prison. The other 24 were released provisionally. They are accused of impeding the freedom to work (article 288 of the penal code), although in reality part of the workforce on permanent contracts is working; of unarmed rebellion (articles 300 and 308 of the penal code), simply for being camped near to the mine; and resistance to and insulting authority (articles 263 and 267 of the penal code), when the police invaded their camp at four in the morning while they were sleeping, waking them with blows and forcing them onto buses requisitioned for the purpose.

The trial of the 29 miners continues on September 25th and the greatest possible solidarity is required.

Send letters and faxes to:

The Prime Minister
Fax 00212-37761010 / 00212-37731010
courrier@pm.gov.ma

The Minister of the Interior
Fax 00212-37766851/ 00212-37767404
courrier@mi.gov.ma

With the following, or similar, text

“We denounce the repressive conduct of the Moroccan Government towards the miners of Jbel Awam and the violation of the right to strike, the right of free expression and the right to demonstrate.

We express our solidarity with the just struggle of all the workers of Jbel Awam and demand the immediate release of all those arrested.”

Mark.
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Sep 25 2007 22:16

The trial continued today. As yet there are no reports of how it went.

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Steven.
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Oct 3 2007 09:32

thanks for all the updates JH

Mark.
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Nov 28 2007 23:24

Another update here

Quote:
La lucha de los 106 trabajadores de las minas de Jbel Awam continúa. Acaba de salir la sentencia que condena a 1 mes de presión firme a 3 trabajadores y al resto a penas de 3 meses de prisión en libertad condicional. Pero lo más grave en la sentencia es la multa de 80.000 dh. (unos 8.000 euros) que deben pagar los trabajadores que van a continuar la campaña de solidaridad, pese a que su sindicato la UGTM les ha vuelto la espalda.

The struggle of the 106 workers from the Jbel Awam mines continues. The sentence has just been announced, condemning three workers to one month in prison and the rest to three months conditional liberty [I think this means suspended sentences]. But the most serious thing about the sentence is the fine of 80,000 dh. (8,000 euros) that the workers must pay. They are going to continue the campaign of solidarity, despite their union, the UGTM, turning its back on them.