On the Picket Line

Moroccan workers end sit-in at mine after bosses agree to talks

By Roy Landersen
January 4, 2021

Some 100 Moroccan workers ended a 10-day underground occupation at the Jebel Aouam mine near M’rirt in Khenifra province Dec. 21 after Touissit Mining bosses agreed to rejoin talks on improving workers’ wages and conditions. The sit-in, backed by another 200 workers protesting above ground, nearly halted production of silver, gold, lead and zinc at the mine. 

The action protested management’s repeated violations of a 2019 agreement with their UMT union.  

Talks are restarting on union demands that the bosses implement improved working and safety conditions that had been written into the agreement signed last year. That contract also included occupational health and safety measures to alleviate chronic illnesses caused by unsafe conditions in the mine, further exacerbated by the onset of the pandemic. 

CMT, a subsidiary of French-based mining group Auplata, is the leading producer of lead and silver in Morocco. There have been a series of union actions at the almost century-old mine since 2017, including a previous mine occupation.