Cleaners and bouncers scream discrimination

– According to an advocacy note released on May 6 by Oxfam Morocco, guards and cleaning workers are among the professionals most affected by job insecurity and harsh working conditions. However, these activities (security and cleaning) are defined within the scope of service contracts drawn up according to a special specification book (CPS). How do you explain this dysfunction and what inventory does it draw up?

– To answer your question, allow me, first of all, to thank you for using the word “dysfunction” which I will use as part of the answer, but in the plural by adding a capital S. that these two sectors suffer, and that make the established service contracts undignified and indecent or not respected when necessary. First, there is the dysfunction at the level of public procurement.

The practice of the lowest bidder leads to the perception of the salaries of the security guard or cleaning agent as transaction costs, and may even lead to the non-declaration of workers at the level of the CNSS and insurance companies, which weakens their situation and leads employers to sign contracts with derisory prices. The salary therefore becomes the sole target for the cleaning or security company to profit from the transaction. The result: net wages between 1,200 and 2,600 dirhams, synonymous with precariousness and the inability to buy any social peace.

Our claim asks, in the first place, for the prohibition of the lowest bid as the sole decision criterion, and the prior requirement in resources and terms of reference of wages that respect the workloads and work risks for this category of workers. Operationally, it is therefore necessary to specify, or even impose, a range of profit margin, in addition to the cost price of the employees – all charges included – to be decided and standardized.

The second dysfunction is at the level of social conformity. Indeed, the State is socially responsible, above all, for rehabilitating a culture of respect for social legislation. The fact of neglecting these sectors for years can only encourage the less “responsible” to enter the market and maintain the status quo in the practices of devaluation and exploitation of workers at the operational level.

In this sense, we call for the demand for social audits upstream of large markets and certain categories of medium or even large companies; We also call for the strengthening of labor inspection and the creation of cells to listen to the complaints of janitors and guards victims of burnout or unfair dismissal. It is also necessary to establish an ethics letter for directors that can be converted into a structuring project with a view to cultivating collective bargaining practices for these sectors.

The third dysfunction is at the level of human resources. Reclaiming employees in these sectors has become one of the great challenges for business leaders. The strength and robustness of the enduring symbolic bond between the security or cleaning company and its employees has greatly diminished over time. The question of the link between the use of outsourcing and this loss deserves to be raised, especially when the main visible criterion of the decision maker’s decision is the reduction of direct labor costs. A simple “resource” to which we assign the qualifier “human”, the employee is seen only as a so-called fixed “load”. Faced with the perception of an existential threat, any living organism engages in protection and response strategies.

Therefore, we appeal to flexibility and encourage companies to participate in the design and implementation of tailor-made training in their structures. There is also a need for private security companies to conduct public satisfaction surveys, especially in sectors such as Health and Education, in order to improve the quality of service provided.

We also recommend encouraging teamwork and continuous training of the first level of supervision to equip them with skills in group dynamics and communication; require basic training (in management) for the employer or manager, as well as require a professional card (with national code) for any agent operating in the sector and a standard certification managed by a state institution as the basic training necessary for qualification for these trades.

The only possible recourse remains for workers – all sectors combined – to go to the labor inspectorate.

– In addition to having their role extended to other tasks not included in their job description, security guards are often deprived of the right to leave. How can they make their voices heard and to whom?

– Our published advocacy note is the culmination of a process in which guards and janitors tried to make their voices heard. They also made similar attempts with all interested parties and high authorities in the country. The issue of depriving a worker of his paid leave is an absurd violation of the labor code. Every reasonable being must today claim rights for this category of workers. The only possible recourse remains for workers – all sectors combined – to go to labor inspection.

– In the event of an accident at work, how can they benefit from social security coverage?

– Before an accident occurs, employers must protect workplaces and provide employees with the necessary equipment to protect themselves and perform their duties well. The work of this category of employees is subject to a high probability of occurrence of loss. Therefore, it is essential that employers can plan and have their employees take out additional insurance offers that can protect them and meet their health needs, even outside of disasters.

Social security coverage is a right from which workers in this sector should automatically benefit, immediately informing their direct employers and managers. Accepting any carelessness or delay is synonymous with giving up your rights. On the employer’s side, not reacting rigorously and quickly for the full rights of workers is a shame and a serious violation of the labor code.

Insurers must also lead the debate and find the ideal formula capable of involving all those interested in protecting not only assets and facilities, but also the men and women who take care of doing it day and night. It is essential to ensure greater monitoring and support from local authorities and above all in a spirit of collaboration in sensitive places and difficult situations.

– What efforts could be combined with the Ministry of Employment to end these inequalities?

– It is important to mention that the private security sector is also under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. These two ministries should play a substantive and collaborative role with civil society and parliamentary groups in reforming and amending the legal texts in force, in establishing control provisions but also in raising awareness among the general public.

Our recommendations in this regard are as follows: For the reform of the legal texts: fix the number of working hours of private guards at eight hours a day; exclude private nannies from articles 192, 191 and 190 of the labor code; and integrate a new article into the Moroccan labor code, in line with law 27-06, which takes into account the constraints of female guards.

For the establishment of control provisions: establish provisions for the control of the application of Law 27-06 in the Public Health and Education sectors; establish legal provisions that allow private caregivers to join external unions of their choice, without political or ideological restrictions. It is also necessary to guarantee more monitoring and support from the municipalities and above all in a spirit of collaboration in sensitive places and difficult situations.

To conclude, my last point concerns raising the general public’s awareness of the role of security guards, as citizens also have a great social responsibility towards security guards. You owe them respect for the work they have to do, especially for general uncomfortable situations (such as searches, baggage inspection, tension at reception or check-in lines, etc.).

The culture of respect is specifically required for the female gender, which is more necessary in contexts considered feminine due to the nature of their activity, such as day-care centers in schools, maternity hospitals or large stores.

Collected by Safaa KSAANI

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