Update: Struggling Moroccan textile workers speak out

The sacked Dewhirst workers in Morocco are building up support for their struggle. Messages from Spain, Uruguay, Belgium, the USA, Britain and Sweden have been a big morale booster for them. The conditions in the factory are atrocious. Please keep the solidarity and protest messages coming in. Workers picketing the gateThe 162 sacked textile workers of Dewhirst in Tangier are still struggling to get their jobs back. The messages of solidarity received from Spain, Uruguay, Belgium, the USA, Britain and Sweden had an enthusing effect on the workers participating in the sit-in in front of the factory. The workers did not expect to receive those messages from workers they've never met. That's what international workers' solidarity means. Meanwhile they have received the support of the Moroccan Human Rights Association. A local paper has also published an article on the struggle. Slowly they are building support inside the factory for their demands.

More information is coming out on the inhuman conditions forced upon the workers by the bosses of the Dewhirst factory. Next time you buy clothes at Marks and Spencer you will remember this.

Workers who do the washing of the clothes complain of the high temperatures in their department. In the summer temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius, in the winter the temperatures still do not go below 40 degrees. Without the appropriate air conditioning this has of course a very bad effect on their health. When the workers demand changes in this situation their superiors threaten them with such phrases as, “The gate of the factory is big enough for an elephant. So it is large enough to get you out!”

The foremen also put a lot of pressure on the workers. “They come with their chronometer and measure how much you do in one minute. Then they multiply the amount of work by 60 minutes and then by 8 hours. If the worker does not achieve the individual production target based on this assessment the worker is punished.”

Some lower lever foremen have also been sacked. They explain how they are obliged to harass and ill-treat the workers. The managers demand that they regularly give them names of workers who can be sacked.

Workers picketing the gate
Workers picketing the gate

Here are two other examples of harassment. When workers want to go to the toilet they are forced to carry a special badge mentioning that he or she has the right to go to the toilet. This has a dissuasive effect on the workers who prefer not to go to the toilet while at work.

When workers arrive late to start the shift, even three minutes late, they are obliged to sign a warning note. As a punishment workers are then obliged to wait sometimes for hours for the arrival of the responsible staff who will authorise them to go home!

“This is everyday life in the Dewhirst factory in Tangier” concludes a worker.

So do not hesitate to send letters of protest to the boss and messages of solidarity urgently to the workers. There is no better morale lifter than this kind of solidarity.

For details see article, Sacked Moroccan workers need our urgent support.


November 22, 2005

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