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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 02:36 PM EDT

Varela Hermanos Was Not Paying Minimum Wages - Owes $102,500 In Fines

Employment & JobsThe Minister of Labor and Workforce Development, Alma Cortez, denounced Tuesday, July 3, that the company Varela Hermanos was not paying their employees the minimum wage. And Cortes said she was surprised that the Vice President, Juan Carlos Varela, issued in the media a campaign ad on the minimum wage increase, "because Varela Hermanos was not paying the minimum wage." The minister said on Telemetro Reports the company owes a fine of $102,500 dollars for "having violated the payment of minimum wage." According to the official, employees of the Varela Hermanos company, who work in the processing of sugar cane, traveled to Panama City to file complaints. "We had to drop in on them with inspections, after the workers came to denounce it," said Cortez. "We had to practically, through these measures (fines), punish the company and force them to pay the minimum wage," she said. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: A lot of large business owners in Panama are really pissed off at Martinelli, because for the first time in history the government is making them pay taxes (according to law) and pay their workers minimum wage (according to law). For as long as anyone can remember, the big rich powerful business owners could get away with doing whatever they wanted by paying bribes, kickbacks, or payola to be left alone. But now companies like the Varela's are facing stiff fines, and (on top of the fines) they are being forced to pay their employees minimum wage. Given this news, can Vice President Juan Carlos Varela still be considered a valid presidential candidate for 2014? But here's the kicker, and the reality behind this story. I'm sure there are other companies out there who are "friends" of Martinelli, who are still getting away with murder. Selective enforcement is still the political tool of choice in Panama.

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