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Tuesday, December 12 2017 @ 12:58 PM EST

SUNTRACS Strike - A New Threat To The Expansion Of The Panama Canal?

Canal ExpansionWork on the project to expand the Panama Canal could be interrupted again, if the SUNTRACS construction workers go on strike.

Hector Hurtado, who is the coordinator between the Union of Construction and Related Workers and those who work for the Grupo Unidos por el Canal de Panama - GUPC - today expressed the support for whatever SUNTRACS decides to do.

"We are on alert because of the negotiations and whatever SUNTRACS decides to do, we will be there," Hurtado said.

For now, SUNTRACS has decided to hold a "warning strike" on April 1 to protest the lack of an agreement with the Panamanian Chamber of Construction, over their demands for a new collective agreement.

The conciliation period ends on 4 April, after which the Suntracs will have 20 days to decide whether to call for a national strike if they fail to reach an agreement with the CAPAC, Mendez said on the morning news today.

The GUPC stopped work on the project, demanding payment of $1.6 billion dollars in cost overruns, and now as a result the completion date for the project has been pushed back to December 2015. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: There are now about 250,000 people working in construction in Panama. The once all powerful SUNTRACS labor union only has about 12,000 members, so they no longer represent even a significant portion of all construction workers. It's wishful thinking to say that all of those who are currently working for GUPC would walk off of the job to support whatever SUNTRACS is doing - because most of them will not. It's also important to point you that the vast majority of construction workers can't stand the SUNTRACS, and they work very hard to stay away from them. This news piece is nothing more than Saul Mendez making noise, and trying to create some additional leverage to use during the negotiations with the CAPAC.

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