Morocco: repeated government attacks on educators’ human and trade union rights

published 7 January 2021 updated 20 June 2024

Education International is alarmed about ongoing violations of trade union freedoms and the rights and acquis of teachers in Morocco as reported by the Syndicat national de l'enseignement–Confédération démocratique du Travail (SNE-CDT).

On 5 January, the SNE-CDT informed Education International of “the strong tension resulting from the unilateral decisions of the Minister of National Education that affect the social acquis of teachers, their constitutional right to strike and their trade union freedom, given the lack of responsible social dialogue".

Non-fulfilment of promises by the Minister of Education

The Moroccan union also recalled that the last dialogue meeting took place in February 2019, a meeting during which the Minister of National Education, Saaid Amzazi, made several promises to resolve some of the issues that have been outstanding for years.

However, the SNE-CDT deplored that not all promises were kept and that the Minister did not honour his commitments, despite repeated requests from the union, taking instead "more retrograde decisions that undermine the rights of teachers".

It therefore decided on a programme intended to deal with the adverse effects of the situation, a plan presented at a press conference held on 5 March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of educational establishments, however, forced the teacher trade unionists to postpone all planned activities.

The union subsequently criticised the fact that, during this health crisis, the Ministry of National Education continued to freeze dialogue and did not involve the trade unions in managing the crisis and thinking about ways to ensure educational continuity. Instead, it made unilateral decisions. It also cited shortcomings in terms of health and safety conditions for teachers and education support staff, and for pupils.

Trade union demands presented at sit-ins on World Teachers' Day

On 5 October 2020, the SNE-CDT also transformed World Teachers’ Day into a day of demonstrations and demands by organising sit-ins of union leaders in front of provincial government departments, and in schools for its members.

Following a meeting of its National Council, it agreed on a new plan of action, which began with a national general strike on 1-2 December. The strike was accompanied by sit-ins in front of regional government departments and demonstrations in front of the administrative councils of the regional academies chaired by the Minister of National Education.

According to the union, "the most dangerous decision taken by the Ministry of National Education during this period was that of depriving strikers of their right to promotion by reducing their administrative grades, which we consider to be a dangerous restriction on the right to strike and trade union freedom".

The final stage of the trade union activities programme was a sit-in of members of the SNE-CDT National Office and trade union officials on 22 December in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Education in the country's capital, Rabat. However, the trade unionists condemned the authorities for illegally banning it; citing exceptional circumstances and the law on health emergencies. They explained that the authorities mobilised security services to surround the activists before they could reach the Ministry's headquarters, and used force to disperse them.

For a serious and responsible dialogue on trade union demands

The SNE-CDT also argued that this "demonstrates that Morocco does not respect its commitments and this behaviour contradicts the international Conventions that the country has ratified, as well as national laws and especially the constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the right to strike and demonstrations, which proves that the country lives in a flagrant contradiction between the discourse and the practice of freedoms".

This is why its fundamental demand today is "to open a serious and responsible dialogue on the outstanding demands from 2014 to today, and the respect of trade union freedoms and the right to strike".

Education International: Solidarity with Moroccan teacher trade unionists

Education International expresses its full solidarity with its Moroccan affiliate, strongly supports this demand made by teacher trade unionists, and calls on the public authorities to respect the human and trade union rights of teachers. It will continue to examine the situation in the country.