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Morocco FTA Leads to Progress on Labor Reform

Cooperative Approach Produces Real Results

“The Moroccans have democratized their political structures,
recently made historic reforms to improve women’s rights, and codified
new labor rights and protections
based on key International Labor
Organization conventions… Congress can make an important contribution by
approving the agreement this year.”




-- Former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey
Kantor




“This is a sound agreement that promotes our commercial
interests
and contains important provisions on agriculture, labor and
intellectual property. Beneficial economic
engagement with allies under
mutual threat is one issue that should transcend today’s political rancor and
should unite all political parties and persuasions.”
--
Former U.S.
Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter

• The prospect of a free trade
agreement (FTA) with the United States helped to forge a domestic consensus for labor law reform in Morocco, spurring reform efforts
that had been stymied for more than 20 years. A comprehensive new labor law went into effect on
June 8, 2004.

• Like all U.S. free trade
agreements, the U.S.-Morocco FTA contains provisions requiring the effective enforcement of domestic labor and environmental laws, and
cooperative efforts to upgrade labor and environmental standards.


• The new Moroccan labor law is a
significant improvement over existing laws and regulations. The law:


o Raises the minimum employment age
(from 12 to 15) to combat child labor.


o Reduces work week from 48 to 44
hours with overtime rates payable for additional hours.


o Calls for periodic review of the
Moroccan minimum wage. Effective July 1, 2004, the minimum wage will increase by ten percent.


o Improves worker health and safety
regulations, addresses gender equity in the workplace, and promotes employment of the disabled.


o Guarantees rights of association
and collective bargaining and prohibits employers from taking actions against workers because they are union
members.


• The U.S. government, through the
Department of Labor, has a significant assistance program (nearly $9.5 million) designed to improve industrial relations, activities
to combat child labor, and enforcement of the new labor code.


• Morocco has ratified seven of the
eight ILO core conventions, and is currently considering ratification of the final one.


• The Moroccan constitution
guarantees the right to strike and this right is exercised
regularly.