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Morocco to increase financial aid to transport workers by 40%

Trade unions believe this is not enough, and are announcing new strikes across the country to get the authorities to set a fixed price for fuel
taxis marruecos

PHOTO/AFP  -   The Moroccan government has been facing growing unrest for weeks over the rising cost of living, with fuel prices going up.

The increase in fuel prices is a consequence of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict that is already affecting a large number of countries, which are beginning to take measures to prevent the economy from being paralysed by the stoppages caused by the transport sector. In the case of Morocco, the Ministry of Transport and Logistics has already announced the government's decision to increase the financial support allocated to transport workers by 40%.

This new aid package is part of the fourth phase of the financial support plan that the government will present during the month of July and which aims to mitigate the loss of purchasing power of the Moroccan population with low and medium incomes, as announced by the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Abdeljail.

However, some transport professionals do not seem satisfied with this aid programme, and are announcing new strikes, which they plan to carry out after the eve of Eid Al-Adha. According to the secretary general of the General Union of Trade Union Workers of Morocco, Nabil Lhoum, the strike was to take place on 29 and 30 June, but they have decided to postpone it because of the Eid holiday. 

transportistas marruecos
PHOTO/AFP - Moroccan taxi drivers take part in a strike to protest rising fuel prices in the capital Rabat.

Over the next few days, drivers will take part in strikes to denounce insufficient subsidies and to protest against rising fuel prices. For Mounir Benazouz, national secretary general of the National Union of Road Transport Professionals, the fourth tranche of subsidies just announced by the government does not satisfy the professionals because "they remain minimal and in no way cover the losses suffered by operators due to the constant rise in the price of oil".

The main demand of the trade union organisations is to urge the government to limit fuel prices. In a press release, the Moroccan Labour Union (UMT), the Democratic Confederation of Labour (CDT), and the General Union of Moroccan Workers (UGTM) called on the public authorities to intervene urgently to "save a sector that is in decline".

They also called for an agreement to be reached with the government in the next few days: "The national road haulage trade unions call on the government to act quickly to save the sector before it is too late. And this by engaging in a serious and responsible dialogue capable of defusing the social crisis".

transportistas marruecos
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Trucks near the border in Guerguerat
 

However, these stoppages are not the first to take place in Morocco since the fuel hike. Last March, transport workers took part in nationwide strikes, for which the government then launched the first phase of a programme to help transport workers: the introduction of a digital platform where transport workers could register to benefit from the subsidy. 

The international economic situation has seen spiralling fuel and food prices and rising inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a situation that has put most countries on alert for energy shortages. In response, the Moroccan government has announced that it will sign the first contract for the purchase of liquefied natural gas to meet its energy demand.