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History of the dismissal of a security guard in a Casablanca hospital

“I feel like we are easy-to-use, quick-to-throw tissues,” is how 40-something Mustapha Benkhalek describes his job as a security guard. For him, these agents are second-class employees, deprived of their most basic rights and are often threatened with dismissal. Mustapha considers himself to be an example of this job insecurity and the deterioration of working conditions. Indeed, he has just been wrongfully dismissed from his job in a Casablanca hospital. A quick dismissal without any respect for the provisions of the Labor Code. “I was fired following a dispute with the bursar of the Sakkat hospital in Casablanca. And this without valid reason. She was the one who kicked me out. Note that this is not the first time that this lady has made this kind of referral. On the side of the treating company, it was content to validate this decision without taking into account the procedures in force. My superior ordered me to leave the premises without further ado,” he told us. And to clarify: “While it is in no way a serious fault”. Indeed, the law cites a list of situations deemed to be serious misconduct in article 39 of the Labor Code. It is, in fact, a matter of: an offense undermining honour, trust or good morals; disclosure of a professional secret that has caused damage to the company; flight; breach of trust; public drunkenness; drug use; bodily assault; serious insult; deliberate and unjustified refusal of the employee to perform work within his competence; unjustified absence of the employee, …. In the absence of these offences, the dismissal cannot follow the serious misconduct procedure. Worse, the subcontractor company fired him without compensation for his departure. Indeed, his superiors only offered him a month’s salary and leave allowances. Yet the law is clear. It obliges the employer to pay damages and severance pay. These two allowances must be added to the remuneration that the employee would have received if the latter had worked unpaid days previously. In addition, a notice provided for by law is to be added to these indemnities according to the time that the employee will have served in the company. Note that we speak of unfair dismissal when the employee has not committed any serious fault or when someone has accumulated several so-called non-serious faults. That said, a dismissal would be abusive if there is no valid reason. To be considered “abusive”, the employer’s decision to terminate an employment contract must be motivated either by a reorganization or by financial reasons. In this case, the employer undertakes to pay the employee the appropriate severance pay as described in the Labor Code. However, Mustapha’s case is not isolated. A report by Oxfam revealed that guards and cleaners are among the professionals most affected by precarious employment and harsh working conditions. These trades are generally governed by subcontracting or interim contracts. They are characterized by derisory wages, constantly changing working hours, job instability and the risk of layoffs. These activities are defined within the framework of service contracts drawn up according to a schedule of special requirements (CPS). In some cases, this recourse has made it possible to formalize by decree the prerequisites for access and exercise of certain trades, which were previously informal. However, this new form of employment is also marked by a number of dysfunctions such as the stagnation, even the fall of wages; non-compliance with working hours regulations; the potential risk of falling into informal employment; etc, reveals Oxfam Morocco. Oxfam also underlined that this intensive use of subcontracting contributes to the aggravation of inequalities and precariousness at work. Thus, in the same structure, the different members of a cleaning team can have different statuses: holders, contract workers and employees of a service provider company. The personnel, coming under these different forms of employment, are assigned to almost similar tasks. But he does not enjoy the same benefits or the same salaries. Permanent staff receive a fixed salary, while temporary workers are paid on the basis of the number of hours worked. Sub-contracted personnel see part of their salary recovered by the provider company.

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