Sahrawi phosphate workers demand embargo

The Saharawi workers at the phosphate mine in occupied Western Sahara demand the Moroccan exports of phosphate to halt.
Published: 02.03 - 2010 17:42Printer version    
The statement below was issued by the The Executive of the Union Confederation of Saharawi Workers, CSTS, on on 11 February 2010.

workers2_380.jpgSaharawi 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.

workers1_380.jpgA 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

El Aaiun : 11 February 2010




Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy