Government-trade unions dialogue resumes
Morocco, Business, 7/6/1998
Dialogue between the government and trade unions resumed Sunday following a suspension due to the legislative elections of November 1997 and the transition period pending the appointment of a government.
The government, trade unions and enterprises signed in August 1996 a major agreement dubbed the "Joint Declaration."
The UMT, one of the trade unions which had signed the 1996 agreement, left Sunday's meeting, arguing that it cannot negotiate with a government which is at the same time judge and part of the process.
The new socialist-led coalition government stated that it will enforce the provisions of the agreement reached with the previous government and consolidate its gains.
Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi cited as top priorities the settlement of pending problems in the labor code to facilitate the submission of an amended law to parliament next fall. He added that negotiations will deal with employers-enterprises conflicts, setting forth a social pact platform that would define the principles regulating relations between the government, enterprises and trade unions and address the 1996 agreement signatories' commitments on unemployment, social coverage, low-cost housing and social solidarity, Map reported.
He said this new meeting will mark a step in establishing new relations between the state and social forces and a new page for earnest, clear and frank relations between the government and trade unions.
Economy and Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou said it is necessary to change the allocations of the finance bill, which earmarks 52 percent to operating expenses and only 15 percent to investments, Map reported.
Debates covered several issues, mainly trade union activities, the problem of workers laid off because of their unionist activities, the improvement of working conditions, further vocational training, and the preservation of workers' purchasing power.
A joint government-trade union commission was set up to prepare for upcoming meetings. It was decided to hold next September a meeting between trade unions, government and employers.
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