SUNTRACS Demands Agreements From Business Owners - Closes Streets in Protest
Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 10:53 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Various groups of striking construction workers took over several points in Panama City, including Calle 50, to express their demands.
SUNTRACS is demanding the approval of the 156 clauses contained in a list of demands workers handed to the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel) as part of the 2014-2017 collective agreement convention.
The union's general secretary, Saul Mendez, told the Estrella newspaper the union has decided to go to the streets to picket because employers have not provided any economic proposals during the three months of negotiations.
Of the 156 clauses, 85 have been negotiated, and the employers have not offered any economic proposals.
Among the priorities, SUNTRACS aims to reduce workweek to 40 hours, with the right to receive the corresponding salary for 45 working hours.
According to Méndez this week they will be taking to the streets until they receive a response from the business sector in order to reach an agreement. (Estrella)
Editor's Comment: SUNTRACS is now a shadow of its former self, but they still have enough members to pull off demonstrations such as this, and screw up traffic in the city. Once upon a time, when there was very little construction activity in Panama City, practically every job site was organized by SUNTRACS. Over the past decade or so, and thanks to the explosion of construction in Panama, SUNTRACS now represents less then 10% of all construction workers, but they are still the best organized of all the unions. They are seen as "troublemakers" and most builders avoid them, if at all possible. Recognizing their decline, some of the leaders formed the new FAD political party, seeking greener pastures.