“I lost my job because my cousin, who was working in the same strawberry factory as me, had a work accident and I wanted to take her to the hospital. She was injured, but they wanted to take her home and did not allow me to take her to the hospital. After that, I could not work anymore in any other places, because I was identified as a trouble maker. I felt it was unfair.”
Charifa used to work in a strawberry field in Morocco. She was one of the first to denounce the working conditions and joined an Oxfam programme aimed at improving the working the conditions of women workers; one of the strategies/goals was to reinforce workers’ capacity in knowing and fighting for their rights. The programme was designed after Oxfam identified several issues, in 2009, in the strawberry sector: no contracts, low rates of registration to social security, child labor, non-compliance with minimum wage and legal working hours, lack of identity documents for workers, very difficult transport conditions and non-compliance with health and safety standards at workplace and at the strawberry fields.
“Now, I understand what my rights are and I try every day to inform not only the women in my village, but women in other villages, so that they do not accept bad working conditions. As part of the programme, we visited villages all around the strawberry production region and informed people about the social security, minimum wage, working hours… Because I had to speak to a lot of people about this, I now feel confident to explain this to anybody, even the big boss. One time, one politician participating in a public meeting asked me why I did not study and I told her because there was no secondary school in my village or in my region.”
Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam
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