The statement below was issued by the The Executive of the Union Confederation of Saharawi Workers, CSTS, on on 11 February 2010.
Saharawi workers from the Boucraa phosphate mine organised a strike on Thursday 11 February outside the headquarters of the Phosboucraa company in El Aaiun, capital of occupied Western Sahara from 9 am until midday.
The Saharawi workers from the Boucraa phosphate mine demand the respect of their rights which have been ignored following the Moroccan occupation of the Saharawi territory. They protest against the reduction in their salaries. They demand on the other hand, an end to the abusive exploitation of the fishing resources, the export of phosphate and sand.
Concerning the rights claimed by the Saharawi workers from Phosboucraa, below please find the rights written into their contracts with the Phosboucraa company, which have never been terminated.
A protocol was signed by the Spanish authority and the Moroccan authority at the time of the management transfer. The Saharawi workers benefit from clauses in the contract from November 1975 until May 1977.
Since 1977, the clauses of the contract have not been respected while the Spanish workers under the same contract benefit to this day from all the rights cited in the protocol. Saharawi workers have not signed any contract with the Cherifian Office of Phosphate (OCP) in Morocco.
Since 1977 therefore, Saharawi workers no longer enjoy the following rights :
1. The respect of acquired rights of the Saharawi workers in virtue of the note signed by the director of the Phospboucraa company on 9-12-1975
2. Fixing working hours to 40 hours (at present 48 hours) with two paid days’ rest a week. (They are not paid)
3. Application of the clauses in the contract concerning promotion, according to the contract, an automatic increment in the pay scale takes place every two years. The Saharawi workers were demoted, since then their level has not changed. They are put in prison if they protest.
4. The implementation of all relevant bonuses.
5. The application of the protocol of Phosboucraa concerning retirement.
6. The right to free hospital treatment for retired workers and workers.
7. The payment of a monthly salary for 30 or 31 days (26 days paid at present).
8. Exoneraton of tax on the revenue by salaried workers who have 4 children or more.
9. Family benefit paid relative to the number of children.
10. Compensation for annual holidays.
11. Compensation for lodging.
12. Allowance for children at Christmas.
13. Ten days’ leave for marriage and five days’ paternity leave.
14. Allowance for household equipment every five years.
15. Bonuses for monthly production for all workers.
16. Bonuses for work damage.
17. Allowance for overtime.
18. Language bonus (encouragement to speak Spanish).
19. Bonus for the third shift (night shift).
20. To enjoy retirement according to the Spanish contract and system, as Spanish citizens, since the future of Western Sahara has not yet been determined by a referendum. For the application of these legitimate rights of workers, the CSTS asks all organisations and international unions to intervene on their behalf to the Spanish and Moroccan governments who share the responsibility of this dossier.
This problem must be resolved and pressure put on the Moroccan government to stop the theft of phosphate and other natural wealth of the Saharawis.
The Executive of the Union Confederation of Saharawi Workers
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