ITF Urges Govt to Intervene in Morocco Port Dispute

The International Transport Workers’ Federation is calling on the Head of Government of Morocco to intervene in an ongoing dispute at the Port of Casablanca.

According to ITF, management at Somaport terminal is trying to impose new ways of working that are not in line with the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between them and the ITF-affiliated SNTP/UMT dockers’ union.

ITF claims that the management is now using intimidation against union members, including dismissing one worker and suspending another.

The call for government intervention comes on the heels of 24-hour strike by the local union held on January 6th.

“Although terminal workers held a strike on 6 January 2016 to protest against the management’s practices, they resumed work after 24 hours to show their good intentions and their willingness to start a dialogue with the company. In contrast, the local management shifted some vessels to other destinations despite the agreement by both parties on dialogue and social peace. This action is seen by the union as an attempt by the company to put pressure on SNTP/UMT to accept its demands,”  ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said in a letter to Morocco’s Head of Government Abdel-Ilah Benkiran.

“The workers and their union are keen to negotiate and to find a positive solution to this dispute, and believe that your immediate intervention in this matter would be valuable as talks appear to have reached a stalemate at the local level.”

The port of Casablanca is the largest port in Morocco, spanning over 450 ha. It can accommodate up to 40 ships at a time and features a commercial port, a fishing port, a marina, as well as facilities and infrastructure for launching and docking ships.

Somaport operates three terminals at the port, a container terminal, a general cargo terminal and a RORO terminal.