Non-academic staffers strike over working conditions

The non-academic employees of Morocco’s 13 public universities participated in strikes and sit-ins in front of the ministry of higher education, scientific research and innovation on 19 February in Rabat to protest their unsatisfactory working conditions and their exclusion from the academic statute.

The reasons for the protests were outlined by the office of the National Union of Employees of Higher Education and University Districts at the Université Hassan I, Settat, in a statement issued in mid-February.

According to social media posts, members of the union, which is affiliated with the Confederation of Democratic Labor, participated in the event.

Further action planned

According to the struggle programme outlined in a statement issued by the union on 11 February, members will carry protest insignia at all higher education institutions on 27-28 February along with a national 24 hour-long warning strike at all institutions of higher education and university districts on 1 March.

It also decided to launch a national 48-hour strike in front of the headquarters of the ministry of higher education, scientific research and innovation in Rabat. Its date will be determined later, according to the statement.

Several universities have announced their support for the struggle programme, including Hassan II University of Casablanca, Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, the University Sultan Moulay Slimane, and Université Hassan I – Settat, as well as the University district Fez-Saïs.

In a statement issued on 4 February, the union said the cessation of dialogue with the minister of higher education and with the director of university districts [had continued] for about a year. It also noted the exclusion of employees of the higher education sector and university districts from any agreements from which other groups working in the sector benefited.

The union also criticised the delay by the minister of higher education and scientific research in coming up with a statute for non-academic staff.

The union also pointed out the continued hardship of many categories of university employees, given the lack of human resources, the large number of tasks, and the increasing overcrowding in higher education institutions.

The union prepared a video clip for Abdellatif Miraoui, the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific research and Innovation, showing how he changed his promises about the statute for university employees in different meetings with the council of advisers of the Moroccan Parliament.

The union noted the problem of continued assignment of administrative tasks to professors in various Moroccan university institutions, despite the ministry’s promises to address this phenomenon.

In addition, the union condemns the fight against union work in some of Morocco’s university institutions.

Furthermore, the union has demanded the cessation of all prosecutions and trials against those who have been critical of the normalisation of relations with Israel and have had their right to freedom of expression undermined.

Finally, the union has called on activists of the union to defend their unions and its demands.

Efforts by University World News to obtain a comment from the ministry were unsuccessful.