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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 03:35 AM EDT

Quijano - "Alma Cortes Made Her Statements As The Labor Minister"

Employment & Jobs
Alma Cortés - Minister of Labor and Workforce Development in Panama
Alma Cortés - Minister of Labor and Workforce Development in Panama
Panama's Minister of Trade and Industry Ricardo Quijano said the statements made ​​by the Labor Minister Alma Cortez, during which she revealed that the company Varela Hermanos had been fined for failing to pay the minimum wage, were done as a government official and not as a party member of the Democratic Change (CD). "Alma Cortes made a statement as the Minister of Labor and not as a politician, as others would like to say," said Quijano. He said "I think Cortez did not do it with the intention of shutting anyone up, but rather to clarify that everyone has to pay the minimum wage." The Panameñista political party filed a complaint yesterday, Wednesday 3 July, against Minister Cortes for alleged labor violations before the office of the Electoral Prosecutor, claiming the attack was made ​​during working hours in violation of the Election Code. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The standard response of the guilty is to attack the messenger if you can't attack the message. Yesterday I saw some statements made by Juan Carlos Varela's brother "Popi" who said they supposed had reached some kind of an agreement with the workers to pay them wages as employees in the alcohol production industry, rather than workers in the sugar cane fields. One can assume that of course the sugar cane workers have a higher minimum wage payment than the factory workers in the alcohol production facility, and that's why the company wanted to pay the workers at that rate. According to them, they had an agreement with the union, but agreements between companies and unions don't change the laws of Panama. So apparently some of the guys who were, in fact, working in the sugar cane fields filed a complaint, the Labor Ministry inspected, found the complaint to be true and valid, and then they issued a fine of $102,500 dollars against the company. Of course, the company immediately appealed or asked for a reconsideration which has to be decided by Labor Minister Cortes, so I think the chances are pretty good their request will be denied. But most importantly - the company seems to have been taking advantage of their workers. All of the other shrill complaints about Cortes having made political attacks during working hours is just so much BS. And once again, they're not winning any battles with this strategy.

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