by Eric Lee
Remember the “Arab Spring”? It was supposed to mean a new era of freedom for workers. But in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, union leaders and activists are being jailed and sacked in brutal attempts to crush independent trade unions.
Global unions have launched online campaigns to protest and we need your support and the support of your fellow union members to put pressure on governments and companies in North Africa to begin to respect workers’ rights.
In Morocco, Said Elhairech, the general secretary of the Moroccan dockers union was arrested in Casablanca on false charges, including one relating to national security. Nearly three months later, he’s still being held, denied bail. The International Transport Workers Federation has launched a global campaign to demand his release. Send your message to the Moroccan government today by clicking here.
In Egypt, transnational food giant Kraft has sacked five members of the board of the newly-created independent union at the former Cadbury chocolate factory in Alexandria following a protest over the non-payment of a government-decreed social allowance. The IUF, the global union representing food workers, has an online protest here.
And finally in Tunisia, Zed Naloufi, the general secretary of the union at Kraft SAIDA, was disciplined and summarily dismissed following a membership meeting. His crime? Representing and meeting the members who elected him. Support the IUF campaign demanding that Kraft reinstate him here.
It will take you only a few minutes to support all three campaigns, but it’s hugely important that you do so.
And even more important that you recruit others to do so. Let’s flood the Moroccan government and Kraft with thousands of email messages in the next few days.
And in doing so, let’s help turn the promise of the “Arab Spring” into a reality for North African workers.
Eric Lee is founder and editor of LabourStart, the international labour news and campaigning site.