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29 Aug 2022

Orient XXI

Union-Busting in Moroccan Call Centres

When Ayoub Saoud wanted to go to his job in call centre Casablanca B2S, 20 security guards barred the way. They would not let him, along with six other employees, go to work. The company had frozen their salaries, suspended their functions and filed a lawsuit against them.
The reason? All seven are union members, elected to the works council…and took part in a strike on 21 April 2022.

Union-busting is the daily lot of union members in Moroccan call centres. The companies, generally multinational groups, fire workers, intimidate them or bribe them to resign, they are bent on preventing unionisation at all costs...

...Saoud, who was suspended from his job at B2S, is general secretary of the Fédération nationale des centres d’appel et des métiers de l’offshoring (FNCAMO), a member of the Union marocaine du travail (UMT). In December 2021, he and his comrades at B2S presented a list of demands with an eye to initiating collective bargaining with their employer. Their main demand was keeping wages in line with runaway inflation.

The French branch of the Italian multinational...refused to negotiate. Instead, Comdata Maroc’s legal advisor offered the union leaders to pay them to resign. The latter reused and took the case to the labour inspectorate and subsequently to the local governor and the Ministry of Labour. Even after three summonses from the authorities, B2S has failed to react...400 of the 1,400 employees walked out for half a day on 21 April, a strike which ended a few days later for seven of them at the police station...

While Comdata in Morocco has just been awarded the seal “best place to work” in the country...Saoud must cope with his personal future. He and the other UMT members are battling to get their jobs back. They have sent a letter to Comdata’s CEO and have also lodged a complaint with the National Contact Point (NCP) for a responsible conduct in Moroccan companies regarding this breach of their fundamental rights...