Right to strike, labor code, IR… the position of the CGEM

Social dialogue takes place in a serene atmosphere. Since the launch of the second round of dialogue, on the initiative of the Head of Government, the social partners and employers have shown their optimism. Guest of the program “l’info en face”, hosted by Rachid Hallaouy, the president of the social commission of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), Hicham Zouanat, confirmed that the discussions are taking place at several levels. Indeed, while certain issues will be addressed at the national level during meetings with the Head of Government, dialogue will also take place at regional and sectoral levels to better address certain issues. But if optimism is in order, the differences are beautiful and there. The thorny question of the right to strike as well as the reform of labor legislation is likely to stir up tensions.

Right to strike: hindering access to work must remain a criminal matter

The draft organic law relating to the strike will be at the center of the discussions within the framework of this second round of social dialogue. This is also one of the points that can cause major differences between the government and the social partners, but also with employers. According to Hicham Zouanat, the CGEM is open to discussions on this subject. However, the Confederation has limits that should not be exceeded. These include obstruction of access to work.
Today, preventing employees from accessing their place of work or preventing goods from entering or leaving company premises comes under criminal law and not labor law, and the CGEM would like this situation to be do not change. “We must not switch from the right to strike to anarchy,” said Mr. Zouanat in his speech. The president of the social commission of the CGEM also defended the principle of “no work, no salary”. He therefore supports the punctures on the wages of the strikers. A provision that the trade union centers are unanimous in refusing.

Lower income tax: the CGEM for the broadening of the tax base and for social equity

Asked about the reform of the income tax (IR), recently revealed by the government spokesperson and planned as part of the 2023 finance bill, Mr. Zouanat confirmed that the government is required to respect the recommendations of the 2019 Tax Conference. A meeting with the Budget Ministry is also planned to present the main lines of this reform, he announced. Insisting on the importance of the principle of fiscal equity, Mr. Zouanat confirmed that the fact that certain liberal professions pay much lower contributions than employees whose tax is deducted at source is disturbing, even scandalous when the the differences are too great.
Returning to the issue of strengthening purchasing power, the employer representative recalled that in addition to the revision of the minimum wage, coming into force from this month of September, there are annual increases in the private sector, for companies that can afford to do so. There are also sectoral agreements which guarantee greater advantages than labor legislation, he noted.

Reform of pension funds: it is time to move from parametric to systemic!

Pension fund reform is a priority for the government. If the central trade unions affirm that this reform must in no way be done to the detriment of the workers, Hicham Zouanat stresses that it must not be done either on the back of the government or the employers. Today, we have reached the limits of parametric reform and we must move on to a systemic reform of the various funds, he underlined.
Not being a supporter of the unification of all the funds in a single pole, the representative of the CGEM affirmed that once the funds are reformed, we can start from a logic of two poles, public and private. Focusing in particular on the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), Mr. Zouanat affirmed that it is necessary to think of raising the threshold of contributions which must pass from 6,000 dirhams currently to 8,000 dirhams for example. It is also necessary to rebalance rates and surpluses. In this sense, the invitation of L’Info en Face drew attention to the surplus of the AMO which is more than 40 billion dirhams. This surplus is fed each year by an additional 3 billion dirhams, he points out.
Welcoming “the courage” of this government which is taking this difficult and sensitive reform head-on, Mr. Zouanat affirmed that the CGEM is not against an increase in the retirement age, if this increase is turns out to be necessary. The official also insisted on the importance of broadening the base of contributors to pension schemes.

Labor legislation: time is for flexibility

The major changes in the labor market require a change in national labor legislation. The subject will also be on the negotiating table during this second round of social dialogue. For the CGEM, the watchword is “flexibility”. “We must be careful not to rigidify the Labor Code”, warns Hicham Zouanat.
Listing the priorities of the Employers’ Confederation on this aspect, the official called for the abolition of certain articles of the Labor Code which are stillborn. He also insisted on the clarification of other articles to limit any ambiguities in their interpretation. These include items related to dismissal. We must move towards a logical dose of responsible flexibility, underlined the official who called for the promulgation of legislation which concerns more “conventional terminations” of employment contracts.

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