ITF demands Moroccan trade unionist’s release

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is demanding the release of a Moroccan trade unionist arrested for legitimate trade union activities – including helping the abandoned seafarers stranded in France and Spain by Comarit-Comanav’s cessation of operations.

The ITF learned that on 16th June, Said Elhairech, general secretary of the ITF-affiliated UMT (Union des Syndicats UMT des Transports) union and chair of the ITF ArabWorld Regional Committee, was arrested.

ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “The reasons given for this arrest are so clouded as to be almost mind-boggling. In particular there are utterly unfounded suggestions that Said was working with some Comarit managers – who have reportedly also been arrested – to engineer the company’s bankruptcy. This is unmitigated rubbish. Said, along with his union, unions in Spain and France, and the ITF inspectors there, have been tirelessly fighting for the abandoned seafarers.

He was directly requested to assist by the ITF, as he was in a dispute over union recognition last year, and we have no doubt that it is his effectiveness in both these cases that has brought down this harassment. This is about victimisation of a trade unionist, nothing else, and we expect theMorrocan government to act to get him freed straight away.”

The ITF is initiating an international support campaign to secure the Said Elhairech’s release.