Workers fired from a farm owned by Moulay Hicham demand their rights

Local authorities in the city of Taroudant, have intervened to stop a sit-in organized on Sunday by a number of workers who got laid off from a farm owned by Prince Moulay Hicham. Contacted by Yabiladi, the Moroccan League for Citizenship and Human Rights (LMCDH), explained the situation and demands of the fired employees. Details.

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5 workers at a farm located in Taroudant, a city in the Souss Valley in southern Morocco, and which belongs to Prince Moulay Hicham, King Mohammed VI’s first cousin, have organized a sit-in on Sunday 1st of October to protest against being fired. The sit-in that took place in front of the farm was later stopped by the local authorities who peacefully promised to reach a meeting point with the farm’s owners within 3 days.

In fact, after several months of silence, workers at Moulay Hicham’s farm have decided to voice their worries. Reportedly, they have undergone abusive dismissals by the farm’s administration. This was confirmed by the Moroccan League for Citizenship and Human Rights (LMCDH), a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights in Morocco, which told Yabiladi that the expelled workers are planning to go on a hunger strike in an attempt to get their jobs back.

According to Hicham El Haouari, head of the NGO’s branch in Taroudant, «the problem started more than a year ago when the farm’s administration decided to fire workers». The NGO, which assisted the workers for several months now, insisted that they were kicked out «in order not to benefit from seniority, knowing that some of them have spent more than 20 years working in the farm».

«When the decision was taken, farm workers felt that they were treated differently and decided to join the labor union. Once they got into the union, they got fired and about 180 laborers organized several sit-ins. As a result, the ones leading the farm returned some of the workers they kicked out earlier and laid off others».

An NGO supporting the fired workers

The Moroccan League for Citizenship and Human Rights now is supporting the five employees recently fired, who refused to seek the help of the trade union. They believe, based on El Haouari’s account, that their rights will be abandoned amid negotiations with the ones in charge of the farm and the union.

When it comes to the situation of these workers, Hicham El Haouari told Yabiladi, that they have revealed «several things that are happening in the farm, shameful things». He added that one of the laid off employees suffers from asthma, and was nevertheless asked to work in some «parts that could harm his health». When the farm was given a medical certificate regarding his health, they continued to force him to work in those places, the same source indicated.

The fired workers are demanding their rights, which according to Hicham El Haouari, insist on getting back to work. «Our goal is about human rights, we support those who decided to protest in order to get their rights», El Haouari said adding : «We hope that the subject will reach the owner of the firm, in order to intervene and put an end to the suffering of these workers».

«Currently, they (workers) suspended their sit-in, and if their demands are not fulfilled, they threaten to consider other solutions to protest against the situation», he concluded.

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