Home News Morocco still won't allow the return of seasonal workers

Morocco still won’t allow the return of seasonal workers

This afternoon, the Central Commission for the Management, Coordination and Socio-Labour Integration of Migratory Flows in Seasonal Agricultural Campaigns and its Study Group met with two fundamental issues: the approval of the agreement on migratory flows and the analysis of the current situation of collective management of recruitment at origin (GECCO).

As the UPA has been reporting since last week, with a strawberry campaign practically over, the need for labour for hiring at origin has been falling except for those people linked to farms who have requested to extend their working stay until the end of July. On the other hand, the possibility was discussed that the workers, if they wished, could move to other provinces to extend their contracts in other campaigns. However, this possibility has been void in practice due to a lack of demand as 70% of people have expressed their desire to return to their country, but cannot do so because the Moroccan Government does not allow this possibility of return for the time being.

In its capacity as a member, UPA has transferred this situation to the heart of the Central Commission, informing it of the letter sent on 20 May last to the Directorate-General for Migration requesting that the Spanish Government mediate with the Moroccan Government to open the border for these people signed by the organisations involved in the management procedure for recruitment at origin. On the other hand, already as an individual management, UPA Huelva addressed a letter last 28 May to the General Consul of Morocco in Seville requesting that he transfer to his government the need to open a safe health corridor to give an exit to these people who want to return to their country but cannot.

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UPA has transferred to the meeting the need to give a solution to this matter due to a humanitarian issue, given that many of these workers have been out of their country since December and wish to return to their homes to see their families again (children, parents, brothers…etc) and in certain cases, also due to health issues, given that they have pending appointments and medical check-ups in their places of origin.

UPA has proposed as a solution to enable a safe transport corridor from Huelva to Algeciras and Tarifa for a later transfer by ferry to Morocco, giving priority in the first instance to those who wish to return for health reasons and immediately enable transport for the rest of the workers.

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But in order to do this it is essential that the Moroccan Government cooperates, since it is responsible for opening up its borders to these people or not, and we have therefore communicated to the Commission the need to mediate so that this can finally happen.

For their part, the social agents within the Commission have agreed on the relevance and importance of this issue and it has been reported that the Spanish Government is making diplomatic efforts to facilitate their return but that the Moroccan Government has not made any statement on the subject until now. Likewise, UPA has transmitted that, as it could not be any other way, while this situation lasts, the workers have assured their lodgings made available by our employers who have hired them until now.

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Finally, it is worth mentioning that today’s meeting has also achieved the approval of an agreement for the management, coordination and socio-labour integration of labour migration flows in seasonal agricultural campaigns.

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The agreement (of national scope) aims to establish collaboration between trade union organizations, business associations in the sector and professional agricultural organizations with the bodies of the General State Administration with responsibility for labour migration flows. This collaboration is carried out with the aim of ensuring an efficient management of migratory labour flows in the agricultural sector, so that the necessary workers are available at all times and in all places, compliance with labour and immigration regulations, working and accommodation conditions is guaranteed and adequate information and advice is provided on social and labour rights and obligations.

From UPA we value very positively the update for four years of this collaboration framework (which has been signed by electronic means) and we hope that this agreement will be a continuation of this fundamental tool of practical application for the adequate development of the hiring system in origin in the different national territories where it is developed and we hope that its practical application will be adequate in the campaign of red fruits.

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