Freedom of association

Promoting Good Labour Market Governance and Fundamental Rights at Work in Morocco - Project

The ILO initiated the project in September 2012 with funding from the United States Department of State. The project concluded on June 30, 2015.

The ILO designed the project to seize anticipated post-Arab spring opportunities for reform, building on the expansion of economic and social rights outlined in the Morocco’s new 2011 Constitution. The ILO conceived the project to improve labour market governance in Morocco by building the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) and Workers’ and Employers’ Organizations to engage in effective social dialogue and promote compliance with fundamental labour rights at work. To tackle the different causes of non-compliance with labour rights, the project worked simultaneously with tripartite constituents at the national level and regional levels. Technical assistance at the local level targeted three key regions namely Gharb-Chrada-Beni Hssem, Meknes-Tafilalet, and Souss Massa Draa. These regions were identified by the Ministry and the social partners as key priorities for the country as they are are the most important agricultural regions in Morocco, featuring both large, commercial, export-oriented farms as well as large numbers of small-holder farms.

Despite steadily levels of economic growth registered in the agricultural sector of these regions, over the past years, the number of labour disputes has increased and millions of workers remain deprived of their basic rights and decent working conditions. Women and young workers are largely represented among those suffering the most from violations of labour rights, poor wages, unsafe working conditions and informal working arrangements.

Immediate Objective

To tackle these challenges in a lasting and effective manner the project work towards the realization of the following two immediate objectives:
  • Immediate Objective 1: Promote and extend effective tripartite social dialogue through support to the national tripartite consultation bodies and the establishment of tripartite bodies at regional and sectoral levels.
  • Immediate Objective 2: Develop the capacity of labour administration/labour inspection to improve compliance with existing labour laws that respect international labour standards, including in rural sector.

Main results at the regional and agricultural level

The project prepared the ground for a new regional tripartite social dialogue consultation mechanism through an assessment carried out on labour relations in the agricultural sector, extensive consultations, awareness raising of regional social partners and by proposing an organizational model. Regional labour officials and workers’ and employers’ organization representatives in three target agricultural regions are now more aware of the importance of social dialogue to prevent labour disputes, improve working conditions and increase productivity.
As an outcome, an agreement has been reached between the Ministry and the social partners to establish informal tripartite social dialogue mechanisms at the end of the May 2015 professional elections in the three regions targeted by the project. These tripartite mechanisms will monitor social and economic conditions in the agricultural sector, develop targeted programmes to improve economic and working conditions in the sector, particularly through the promotion of sectoral or enterprise level collective bargaining agreements.

Thanks to project training (170 beneficiaries) and the development of a collective agreement template, social partners in the three project target regions are also more knowledgeable of collective bargaining techniques and have a ready-made tool to help them construct a collective bargaining agreement. The template includes 3 main components with provisions on how to ensure sound workplace cooperation, improve workers’ conditions and boost competitiveness.

As an outcome, the project supported with training the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements. In one of the regions were training was provided to social partners a collective bargaining agreement was signed covering approximately 1000 workers, including seasonal workers. Most of these seasonal workers were under informal working arrangements but thanks to the conclusion of the collective bargaining agreement the employer has started to issue written contracts for them.
Currently, some of the social partners’ trained by the project are now in the preliminary stages of the negotiation of new collective bargaining agreements in the agriculture sector, which may benefit more than 5000 additional workers, including seasonal informal workers.