European Coordination Via Campesina calls for solidarity with the workers of the company Sudaphi, part of the Premium Foods Solutions group, located in the province of Inezgane Ait Melloul in Souss Massa, Morocco. Sudaphi specializes in the processing and export of tomato-based products. It produces the Sud’n’Sol and Sunblush Tomatoes brands and sells its products to supermarkets and food processors in Europe.
In December 2021, Sudaphi unilaterally announced that it was subjecting all of its incumbent staff to a new written contract that threatens workers’ job security and their transfer to production sites far from their homes, without consulting the company’s employees or their elected representatives. Workers under the new Sudaphi contract have been protesting these changes outside the company’s gates since May 26.
A staff delegate affiliated with the National Federation of the Agricultural Sector (FNSA-UMT) was dismissed by Sudaphi on 27 May 2022. Two other delegates were sanctioned with 8-day layoffs and 3 members were forced to change positions. Sudaphi’s abusive practices represent a violation of the right to free association and collective bargaining. The delegate has organized a sit-in in front of Sudaphi’s offices in Inezgane Ait Melloul since his dismissal over a month ago. The FNSA demands respect for trade union rights and a serious and responsible dialogue with its regional authorities for a settlement of this collective dispute.
The working conditions are also contested by the employees and their union representatives, notably:
– The lack of transportation at night for female workers (required by Decree No. 2-04-568 setting the conditions for night work for women on December 29, 2004).
– Unsafe and unhygienic working conditions, with an absence of protective clothing for employees against cold (6°C) and heat (60°C) in the workplace.
– The Safety and Hygiene Committee (CSH), instituted according to article 336 of the Labor Code, is not functional within Sudaphi.
– Absence of the Works Council required by law in accordance with article 464 of the Labor Code.
– Working hours exceeding the legal limit of 8 hours per 30 minutes.
Despite Sudaphi’s violations of Moroccan labor laws, Moroccan authorities intervened against the sit-in and protests by employees and activists outside Sudaphi’s headquarters on June 14 and 17. Local authorities confiscated equipment and arrested one of the delegates, although he was released the same day without charge. Despite this, FNSA members in Sudaphi remain determined to defend their rights.
ECVC hopes that this social conflict will be resolved as soon as possible and we demand that the management of Sudaphi respects the fundamental rights of the workers.
In this context, European Coordination Via Campesina:
– Calls on Sudaphi and demands the reinstatement of the dismissed delegate and the compensation of the lost work days.
– Demands that Sudaphi withdraws its proposal to contract all its workers with new non-consensual conditions.
– Sudaphi engages in immediate negotiations with the FNSA to improve working conditions and resolve the illegal violations of the Labor Code in its facilities
– Condemns the intervention of the gendarmerie against the FNSA, and calls on the local Moroccan authorities to do what is necessary to resolve the social problems of the workers and to maintain the dialogue between the social partners
– Calls on supermarkets and food processing companies that purchase products from Sudaphi to approach the company to demand the resolution of illegal practices within their supply chain.
Federico Pacheco – Coordinating Committee member