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Last day of groundbreaking Maritime Roundtable
27 September 2012
The ITF Maritime Roundtable, which finishes today in Casablanca, Morocco, is being hailed as a groundbreaking success and a real boost to the campaign to free unfairly jailed trade unionists Said Elhairech and Mohamed Chamchati.
ITF maritime coordinator Steve Cotton said: “This event has been a huge campaigning step forward. It has brought together a new generation of seafarer and docker activists and given them a voice. Backed by the shared experience of colleagues from the international trade union movement, it has produced a wealth of ideas that will feed into our future campaigning. We look forward to maritime unions working together more collaboratively and encouraging organising and activism among their membership”
ITF general secretary David Cockroft commented: “Importantly, this three day event has helped us to help our colleagues Said and Mohamed, the victims of ridiculous legal charges and, we believe, has helped us bring their inevitable release from custody closer.”
General secretary of the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), Sharan Burrows was present at the closing session. Speaking to the participants, she said “You are central as a global union federation because of your strategic position in the logistics and supply chain environments. You are a truly global union that’s taking on the challenges to what is now the unions’ central mission building workers' power."
The last day began with the over 205 participants from 51 countries again hearing from Said Elhairech, whose voice, speaking to them directly from jail, was broadcast around the Roundtable event. He told them: “My dear Brothers and Sisters participating in the MRT meeting, I express my sincere gratitude for all the support you have given me. And for your work with regards to union freedom and strengthening the role of union work in our countries. All my fellow leaders and affiliates of the ITF attending the meeting and those not here in Morocco, I send you all my greetings and regards and I assure you that we will go on with this struggle, not fearing anyone. Long live the workers worldwide, long live the ITF, long live the UMT.”
Yesterday female representatives attending the Roundtable visited Said’s wife and children at their home in order to express their solidarity and to pledge the union’s continuing support.
The entire meeting also passed a resolution committing the ITF and its member unions to: “be ready to act in response to any developments, bearing in mind that trade volumes in and out of Morocco may rely on Morocco’s maintaining its global reputation, an important part of which stems from the country’s respect for international conventions and trade union rights.” All the participants also signed letters calling for the two mens’ release which will be sent to Morocco’s prime minister and ministers of justice and the interior.
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