Morocco promises auxiliary forces pay rise-minister

Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:19pm GMT

* Minister: Wage rise, housing planned for auxiliary forces

* Auxiliary force members number some 47,000

* Force is often deployed to tame protests, riots

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, April 20 (Reuters) - Morocco will raise wages and ease access to housing for its auxiliary forces, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday, in a move set to further raise the public wage bill in the cash-strapped North African country.

The statement by Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui follows similar steps by Rabat to prevent a spillover of popular revolt from Tunisia, Libya and Egypt after some of the largest anti-government protests the North African state has witnessed for decades.

Cherkaoui, quoted in remarks carried by the official MAP news agency, did not give more details on the plan.

Numbering around 47,000, Mokhaznis -- as the Auxiliary Force members are commonly known -- fall under the Interior Ministry. They are often deployed to tame protests and domestic unrest and can be called upon to support the army or paramilitary police.

The government is already in talks with unions over their demands of benefits and wage hikes for public civil servants worth 43 billion dirhams ($5.5 billion). For details, see [ID:nLDE7350UM]   Continued...

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