Union Marocaine Du Travail (UMT)

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Morocco's oldest trade union.

The Moroccan Labor Union (Union Marocaine du Travail, UMT) was formed in 1955 with the help of the nationalist Istiqlal Party. It reportedly had a membership of over 600,000 in the early years of Morocco's independence, becoming the nation's largest labor organization. It enjoyed a monopoly of Moroccan unionism until the Istiqlal Party founded the General Union of Moroccan Workers (Union Générale des Travailleurs Marocains, UGTM) in 1959, which took over 10 percent of its membership.

Although affiliated with the National Union of Popular Forces (Union Nationale des Forces Populaires, UNFP) from 1959 to 1962, the UMT declared its autonomy from political parties at its Third Congress (1963). In the 1960s the government declared a state of emergency, during which political and union activity was restricted for several years. During this period the UMT saw its membership decline sharply. The state of emergency ended in July 1970, prompting a rapid rise in labor unrest soon afterward. Nevertheless, the UMT remained weak, affected by organizational and leadership problems.

By the mid-1970s internal dissent had emerged within the organization. Some criticized the union leadership for inaction and subordination to the state. Mahjoub Ben Seddiq has been its secretary general since 1955. In 1978 the USFP founded the Democratic Confederation of Labor (Confédération Démocratique du Travail, CDT), an organization that soon attracted former UMT union members. In the 1990s UMT's political activism was surpassed by the CDT, which, in alliance with the UGTM, has become the leader of trade union militancy in Morocco.

see also union gÉnÉrale des travailleurs marocains (ugtm).


Clement, Jean-François, and Paul, Jim. "Trade Unions and Moroccan Politics." Merip Reports 127 (October 1984): 1924.

bradford dillman
updated by ana torres-garcia

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Union Marocaine Du Travail (UMT)

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Union Marocaine Du Travail (UMT)