- Unionists have blamed a fatal fire on Morocco's Rosamor Ameublements matress and furniture in Casablanca to employer greed and official negligence. At least 55 industrial workers - including 35 women - died in the fire incident.
"It is an inevitable mass murder arising from employer greed and official negligence,” said Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF).
The ITGLWF and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) are calling for murder charges to be brought against those responsible, the owners and officials in government ministries and agencies who had ignored violations of labour rights and breaches of basic safety regulations in the factory.
Survivors of the fire said Rosamor Ameublements said aside being paid less, the workers were not registered for social security and worked in appalling conditions.
Despite the presence of highly flammable raw materials, windows and doors were locked during working hours, supposedly to stop materials being removed from the factory, thus making it impossible to escape, and the fire extinguishers were empty, workers told unionists.
“This was an accident waiting to happen and could have occurred at hundreds of locations in Morocco and tens of thousands across the world where textiles and household textiles’ manufacturers exploit workers and ignore basic safety standards while the authorities turn a blind eye to death trap factories,” claimed Neil Kearney, demanding that exemplary compensation be paid to the families of the dead and the best medical care be offered to the injured.
Following reports of a blaze in another textile factory [curtain-making] in the Casablanca suburbs on Tuesday, ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder insisted that “the whole of Moroccan industry, and in particular the textile and clothing sectors” must change its working practices, which all too often contravene labour legislation.
Unionists complained that large numbers of Moroccan workers are not registered for social security, don't receive the statutory minimum wage and are not offered the protection of basic health and safety measures.
Moroccan authorities have been urged to promptly inspect working conditions and safety in all production sites, immediately stop any activities that pose risks for workers' health and safety as well as start legal action against any employer that breaches the labour legislation on wages, working hours and safety standards. Unionists said these were necessary considering the fact irresponsible employers contribute nothing to economic and industrial development, despite numerous hazards in workplaces.
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