Eleven people were killed and 27 others injured, twelve of them seriously.years of a terrible road accident which occurred on Wednesday at the level of the regional road 404 linking the municipality of Brachoua to Romani. This umpteenth tragedy has reignited the debate on the miserable conditions of transport (and work too) of workers operating in the agricultural sector in Morocco.
But this time, and given that this type of accident takes place at least once a year, causing innocent victims and bereaving families, it would be high time to take a serious look at the reasons for this tragic accident, and take concrete measures to deal with the situation.
Solicited by MoroccoLatestNews UK, the Director General of the National Road Safety Agency (NARSA), Nacer Boulaajoul, tells us that an investigation has been opened and is still underway to elucidate the instigators of this accident. Once the investigation is completed, the relevant authorities will share the available data with public opinion, he said.
Asked if the NARSA carries out routine checks on the cars transporting these agricultural workers, to limit the damage and avoid this type of accident, Boulaajoul tells us that vehicles over 5 years old are subjected each year to a technical inspection which determines their whether they are still in working order or not.
Measures that seem to be insufficient in the face of recurring road accidents in Morocco. Samira Raïs, Deputy Secretary General of the National Federation of the Agricultural Sector (FNSA) affiliated to the UMT (Moroccan Labor Union), indicates having received the news of this tragic accident, with great sadness noting that it is not a not from the only accident that happened recently. Another took place in the province of Chtouka Ait Baha, where several victims were recorded, but no news was released on this subject, she said.
“Up to last night, the authorities reported 11 deaths in the Romani accident. Unfortunately, and each time we meet with officials, particularly from the Ministry of Employment, we insist on taking concrete measures to protect female agricultural workers, especially with regard to their transport. When we talk about compliance with the Labor Code and respect for the rights of workers in terms of working conditions and transport, we unfortunately do not see any concrete reaction in this direction.“, deplores the activist.
According to the trade unionist, this type of accident happens every time as if nothing had happened“, noting that the Ministry of Employment is not the only one concerned with taking action. There are also the authorities and departments in charge of controlling the road.
” IWhen there is a vehicle or truck that does not meet the traffic conditions, the necessary measures must be taken. So several actors must intervene to put an end to this carnage. NARSA must also intervene to raise awareness and prevention, and above all to control the vehicles that transport these workers.“, she argued.
And to add: So far, we do not know the reasons for the accident. Is it the brake that failed, or is it speeding, or is the vehicle not in order. No statement has been made yet”.
Thus, the activist recalled that the union and the Federation have repeatedly denounced the transport conditions of agricultural workers.
” We are also going to publish a statement to this effect on behalf of the Federation, and another on behalf of the women’s group, and we will again contact the Minister of Employment, in correspondence, to remind him of our grievances, especially since there are accidents that take place on a daily basis and which go unnoticeds,” she pointed out.
To conclude, Samira Raïs felt that this whole debate brings us back to Convention No. 190, adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO), concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
” The main recommendations reached in this agreement are protection against violence in the workplace and protection of employees even when transporting them to and from work. The State is responsible for their well-being even during their transport“, she remarked.
This is why the unions are calling on Morocco to adopt this Convention, since it includes a range of articles that defend the rights of agricultural workers, whether in the workplace or during transport.
It should be recalled that the Romani accident occurred at the level of the Bounjaja douar (municipality of Brachoua) when the driver of a mixed transport vehicle lost control of the vehicle before hitting a tree.
As soon as they were informed, the local and security authorities and the civil protection services intervened to take the necessary measures, evacuating the injured to the local Rommani hospital where several medical and nursing staff were mobilized to take care of the injured, according to the same sources, who add that 5 cases required their transfer to the CHU Ibn Sina in Rabat.
An investigation was carried out by the competent authorities under the supervision of the prosecution in order to determine the circumstances of this accident.