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Thursday, July 31 2014 @ 09:41 PM EDT

Please Do Not Ask Me To Help You Get A Job In Panama!

The economy in Panama is booming, and there are a lot of people who are looking for work. Many of the younger members of the community of English speaking expatriates in the Republic of Panama come here, looking for work. You should know right up front that this website - Panama-guide.com - is a NEWS operation. We are not in the business of finding a job, for anyone. We are not hiring, so do not ask. I do not want to see your resume. If you were going to move from California to New York, would you write to the Editor of the New York Times and ask him to help you find a job? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. So the bottom line is - if you write to me asking for help to find work in Panama, you will be wasting both your time, and mine. You will have to find a job on your own. Google is your friend. Best of luck.
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58% Of Panamanian Businesses Reporting Shortage Of Skilled Labor

Employment & JobsThere are many people who complain about the lack of work at the national level; however, for some employers, the shortage of talent in the labor field is greater this year than last year. (more)

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38% Of Workers in Panama Are "Informal" And Don't Pay Taxes

Employment & JobsNearly 529,700 hold "informal" jobs in Panama, according to the latest official figures from the Comptroller General of the Republic, dating back to August of last year. (more)

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Government Employees in Panama Won't Be Able To Be A Member Of A Political Party

Employment & JobsPublic officials (government employees) in Panama won't be able to be a member of any political party, if the National Assembly passes a proposed amendment to Law 9 of 20 June 1994, which establishes and regulates Civil Service. (more)

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President Varela Repealed Executive Order Providing Protection To Government Employees

Employment & JobsGovernment officials will not be entitled to benefits if they are fired from their public jobs for any cause, now that President Juan Carlos Varela has repealed the Executive Order signed by former president Ricardo Martinelli, which established protection for public employees. (more)

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Panama Will Have To Fill 100,000 Logistics Jobs In The Next Ten Years

Employment & JobsThe Panamanian economy will create 100,560 new jobs in the logistics sector in the next ten years (2014-2024), of which 65% will be operational and middle level technical positions, according to a study by the Business Logistics Council and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

The vacancies will be for forklift operators, warehouse operators, packers, transportation route coordinators, and accounting assistants, among others.

Given the lack of available manpower, the Panama Maritime Chamber is coordinating with the public sector to train people in the area of logistics. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: A story typical of those about the Panamanian economy. Heads up guys, because we're going to be needing an additional 100,000 workers over the next decade - or 10,000 per year - and right now those bodies are not available. Too many jobs, not enough people, full employment (or, 0% unemployment).

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Panamanian Economy Creates More Than 6,000 New Jobs Per Week

Employment & JobsAccording to Panama's Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development, the economy generated 6,472 new jobs in the first week of April 2014. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: A one sentence article from La Critica. The Panamanian economy is still on fire, continues to expand and grow, and created more than 6,000 jobs in just one week. These numbers from the MITRADEL are based on employment contracts submitted to the government by businesses, so they are not estimates but actual figures of how many people were really hired in that time period.

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Mega Employment Fair Was Organized For The Entire Country

Employment & JobsThe Ministry of Labor will carry out a national mega employment fair on September 13 with the participation of over 500 companies with 25,000 job offers throughout many different areas in the national economic activity.

This employment fair is going to take place at the Roberto Duran Arena from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; in Colon it’s set at the Panama Al Brown Gym; in La Chorrera is going to be at the Super Xtra in Arraijan and in Cocle at the 8 de Diciembre Park in Penonome.

In Los Santos the activity will take place at the Manuel María Tejada Roca School; and in Herrera at the Mall Paseo Central.

In Veraguas this fair was organized to take place at the gym in the Escuela Normal Juan Demóstenes Arosemena; in Chiriquí at the Pan Deportes Gym, former La Basita, and in Bocas del Toro in ACUDEM.

From 2010 to 2013, the Mitradel has organized 187 employment fairs in the country with a participation of 3,713 companies who offered 123,962 vacancies and received 120,128 people out of which 72,250 entered the labor market, according to the figures provided by the Statistics Department from the Planning Directorare. (Critica)

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FENASEP Reports Unjustified Dismissals At The ATTT

Employment & JobsThe National Federation of Public Officials (FENASEP) reported on Friday that 59 officials from the Transit Authority and Land Transportation (ATTT) were dismissed for political retaliation.

Alfredo Berrocal, secretary of the FENASEP, said the officials were unfairly dismissed after the primaries of the Democratic Change and the Democratic Revolutionary Party.

As explained by Berrocal, the public officials were dismissed, some of them for not voting in the primaries of the CD and others for participating in the elections of the PRD on June 2.

Berrocal announced they will submit a complaint before the International Labour Organization (ILO) to assess the situation of these officials.

The union leader said the reason of their dismissal is not a valid cause for dismissal and does not include their payment of accrued leave. (TVN)

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Cortes Asks Business and Labor Leaders To Come To Terms

Employment & JobsAppealing for an understanding between employers and workers, the Ministry of Labor will seek to serve only as a mediator in the talks about an increase to the minimum wage for the 2014 - 2015 time period.

"We are waiting for social interlocutors, workers and employers, to communicate between themselves, and to come to terms to achieve a consensus so the National Government will not be the one in charge of establishing the minimum wage this time”, said Labor Minister Alma Cortes.

During the last two wage revisions, the Government made an adjustment of 32%, stating these were “the most important adjustments in minimum wage in the last 40 years”, while the previous reviews did not exceed 17%, stated Cortes.

(Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Every two years there are a series of set piece discussions in a standing committee installed to conduct regular reviews of the minimum wage. The last two times the representatives of labor and business failed to reach an agreement. Business owners wanted to make either a tiny increase to the minimum wage (to keep pace with inflation) or no increase at all. And of course the employees wanted a very large (unrealistic) increase. Both times the Labor Ministry was forced to step in, make the decision, and apply a minimum wage increase somewhere in the middle - more than what the business owners wanted to pay but less than what the workers were demanding. This call for the two sides to reach an agreement by Cortes is the definition of "wishful thinking." By holding fast to their positions both sides can claim they held fast but were forced by the government to accept a final number that they didn't want. More fun and games and how they are played...

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Work Permits For Foreigners

Employment & JobsA resolution from the Ministry of Labor that regulates the processing of work permits for humanitarian reasons to foreigners living in Panama was signed yesterday.

It states the permits are granted under the process of extraordinary migratory regularization called “Panama, Crisol de Razas (Melting Pot)”, which will be held in the province of Panama from May 27th to June 3rd of this year.

Foreigners living in Panama may attend the Robert Duran arena for this transaction during those days. They must take two Passport photos, a request for such transaction, a resolution from the National Service of Migration (SNM) certifying that they have provisional permit of residence, and a notarized copy of the SNM license stating the residence permit.

The work permit will cost $500 plus bank charges of $1.00.(Critica)

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The World Bank Grants Panama A Loan Of $100 Million

Employment & JobsThe World Bank (WB) today announced the granting of a loan of $100 million to the Government of Panama to improve revenue and fiscal management, transparency and efficiency of social programs.

In a statement, the Bank said that this loan is the second in a planned series of three credits to support the Panamanian government's program to modernize and strengthen tax administration institutions and the country's procurement system.

This new loan will "increase transparency and exchange of tax information and increase fiscal space via tax reforms," said the WB. "The measures to increase tax revenues, improve the exchange of tax information, establish best practices for procurement and strengthen social programs provide better social and economic opportunities for all and help to reduce poverty in Panama," said Frank de Lima , Panamanian Minister of Finance.

The multilateral bank intends to improve the coverage and effectiveness of social programs as "Universal Fellowship" (scholarships to students), "100 at 70" (program for pensioners) and "Network of Opportunities", benefiting nearly 1 million Panamanians.

After receiving the first amount of $ 100 million in May 2011, the World Bank said the government of Ricardo Martinelli has improved procurement system with the PanamáCompra program.

"The WB supports Panama's plans to consolidate its fiscal position, improve the efficiency of the public sector and benefit more Panamanian social programs. Efforts to strengthen financial management will certainly help reduce poverty and increase opportunities," said Ludmilla Butenko, WB representative in Panama. (Critica)

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Panama Pacifico Creating More Jobs Than The Panama Canal

Employment & JobsPanama Pacific has become a source of employment for thousands of Panamanians who have the opportunity to train in different areas and have access to better wages.

About 8,000 jobs have been created by the 200 companies that have been established there, and by 2014 they expect this will surpass 12,000 jobs, more than currently produced by the Panama Canal, according to the general manager of Panama Pacifico, Olmedo Alfaro.

Alfaro said that about 100 companies a year are being recorded in the APP, which is why they will be able to achieve the figures stipulated.

He said they use a platform called "Panama Hires" - which has made it easy for Panamanians or foreigners with work permits to enter their resumes - and they can be reviewed by the companies interested in hiring.

Job seekers can enter their data through www.app.gob.pa or the www.panamaemplea.gob.pa page.

There, they can access information about job offers that are available, well as courses or job training opportunities that might be of interest.

"There is a staff that monitors the monthly movements of the companies who are seeking Panamanian labor, through the data entered by job seekers via the webpage," said Alfaro.

According to the APP, every month the companies study or access about 1,500 resumes of those Panamanians who have registered digitally, for their subsequent recruitment.

Training - In order to support the training of Panamanians, with respect to the requirements of the companies established in the Panama Pacific area, and knowing the limitations on academics, APP created a training center in conjunction with the National Institute of Vocational Training for Human Development (Inadeh), which trains students in English, logistics, warehouse management teams, technology and ethics. In addition, the center has simulated port equipment structures. (Panama America)

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80% Of Panamanians Fear The Arrival Of Foreign Workers

Employment & JobsPanamanians see the entry of foreigners to work in Panama as a threat. In a recent survey 80% of Panamanians reject the possibility of bringing new immigrants to Panama to work.

This is one of the results of the CID Gallup poll for "The People Speak", which in this latest installment discusses the opinions and attitudes of Panamanians towards immigrants in the country.

The idea of hiring more foreigners only received the support of 15% of the population.

The idea was rejected in the interior of the country by 83.5%, by 83.2% of women, and 81.1% of young adults. Those who only passed primary school are the most negative.

Interestingly, the same study concluded that 60% of Panamanians think their countrymen (other Panamanians) do not want to work.

And at the same time, only 7% of Panamanians think foreigners are better workers.

More than half of Panamanians, specifically 54%, think that foreign workers are preferred by employers.

Only 25% see their countrymen (other Panamanians) as the favorites of those who hire them. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: So, the conclusions from this poll are obvious. The Panamanians don't want foreign workers to come, because they know the foreigners are better workers. The Panamanians themselves know they are not the best educated or prepared, and they know the foreigners will take their jobs. And they also know that Panamanians are lazy. Wow. What a poll...

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Almost 200,000 People Work For The Government of Panama

Employment & JobsThe cumulative gross total paid to government employees in Panama from January through October 2012 came to a total of $1.771 billion dollars, up 10% compared to the same period last year, according to the Comptroller. This amount is comparable to the investment made ​​by the State to build Line One of the new Metro subway system - $1.88 billion. The increase in the cost of operations is caused by several laws which have increased the salaries of government workers. By October 2012, there are approximately 200,000 people on the government payroll.

Editor's Comment: The total number of people on the government payroll has increased by 4.2% compared to last year - up from 190,736 to 198,708 - while the amount of money being spent to pay them increased by 10%. Pay raises account for the difference.

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Coastal Strip Project Being Built With Labor Force From El Chorrillo

Employment & JobsJust as it was done in the Curundú project construction, the Cinta Costera 3 is being build by labor from Chorrillo.

Every day about 20 resumes are being received - from people both inside and outside of Chorrillo - who are interested in being part of the labor force of this project. This was confirmed by the Human Resources staff of the company Norberto Odebrecht Construction.

Alfonso Norton Arosemena, who has been living in this district for 35 years, is part of the group of 25 men who were trained in the program of continuing professional qualification dubbed "Believe" and the National Institute of Vocational Training for Human Development (INADEH).

This stakeholder group is preparing to be charged with the installation of the reinforcing rods used in the construction of the project. (Siglo)

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39% Of Panamanians Engaged In "Informal Employment"

Employment & JobsThe Director General of Employment, of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (Mitradel), Samuel Vargas, said that 39% of Panama's population is engaged in informal employment, while the rest of the population with some form of training is devoted to employment formal.

"Although there are many open jobs, the lack of preparation is one of the problems that exist in the country, and therefore they find it difficult to get a job," he said.

He said the unemployment rate is at 4.5%, which represents about 60 thousand people, yet in the capital city there are 70,000 vacancies to be filled.

He said many more employees are required, and the businesses are finding it difficult because people don't want to work, or they are not trained to do the work that's required. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: And, there you have it. Unemployment in Panama is 4.5% - so that means 60,000 people are unemployed. Simultaneously, there are now 70,000 open positions going unfilled. Hence - unemployment = 0% (or less - manpower deficit). Those who can't get jobs either don't want to work (lazy) or they are not properly trained. Of course there's still poverty and unemployment in the remote areas of the interior, mostly because those people live far away from the jobs. If they moved, they could easily find work if they wanted to. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence, motivation, education, and training is gainfully employed.

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New Work Permit For Foreigners Applying For Permanent Residence Under The Subcategory of "Friendly Nations of Panama"

Employment & Jobs With the implementation of the Executive Decree No. 416, of June 13th 2012, the government of Panama created a new subcategory allowing for the issuance of permanent residency permits to nationals from 24 countries that maintain a friendly relationship with Panama. As a consequence, the Panama Ministry of Labor created a new work permit for those who apply for and who are approved through this new subcategory. In contrast with common Work Permits which require annual extensions, these new work permits are being granted as "indefinite" with no expiration date.

The Ministry of Labor is charging $500 for these permits. The law firm of Almanza & Almanza can help you obtain this new work permit. The costs and government fees (including the Work Permit fee and others) is $600, and our professional fees are $400.

For more information you can contact us via email at galmanza@aa-panama.com or info@aa-panama.com, telephone in Panama (507) 264-5502, (507) 264-6381, fax (507) 264-8751, or visit our website www.aa-panama.com.

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AAUD Now Hiring Garbage Truck Drivers After Wage Increase Announced

Employment & JobsSince it became known that the Authority of Urban and Household Cleanliness (AAUD) needed drivers, more than 300 people have come to the institution to apply for the positions, said Enrique Ho Fernandez, manager of the entity. Of these 15 have been hired and another 85 are in the process for appointment, to put the full fleet of garbage trucks into service, and to optimize the collection service in the capital city, he said. Among the requirements requested: be under 55 years of age, have a Type F driver's licence, with experience in heavy equipment, be responsible, and have no negative history in the Transit Authority. The salary is $700 per month, with salary adjustments that will be made from $50 to $225. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Good. The AAUD has recently purchased dozens of new garbage trucks, and they were having trouble getting drivers for them. They raised the salary, let it be known in the press, and now they've got warm bodies. Which, of course, that now some other company who was paying them less will have to increase what they are paying in order to do the work. It's a vicious cycle of dudes getting paid more money. That's what happens in a booming economy.

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130 Companies Offering 27,000 Vacancies At Job Fair Today

Employment & JobsOver 27,000 vacancies are being offered today, Saturday, at the job fair organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development which takes place at the Arena Roberto Duran.

The Show hours will be from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and about 130 companies from around the country will participate and provide labor positions in different areas.

Those interested in the vacancies should submit their resume, a photocopy of their identity card, previous job references, food handler card, and a copy of their driver's license if they have one.

At the fair there will also be an exhibition of food products for people to buy at affordable prices.

On 29 September Mitradel will organize another job fair at the José Guardia Vega school in Colon, and the José Daniel Crespo school in the city of Chitre, Herrera province. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: So, if 130 companies are trying to fill 27,000 vacancies, that's an average of 207 jobs per company. The underlying fundamental manpower shortage continues in Panama. There are more jobs available than people to fill them. Sooner or later, something has to give. I have come to the conclusion that the government of Panama wants to keep this shortage in effect. The increasingly intense competition for skilled employees creates an upward pressure on wages, as employees are forced to cannibalize employees from their competitors, in order to obtain the labor force they need to get the work done. This means employees will make more money across the board. However it's a dangerous strategy because it's flirting with inflation, which can be crippling in the long term.

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Labor Ministry Will Be Holding Yet Another Series Of Job Fairs

Employment & JobsOn 22 September 2012, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MITRADEL) will hold a job fair, with more than 100 participating companies. The fair will be at the Roberto Duran Arena from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. MITRADEL invited those who are interested to bring their resumes, and there will be vacancies available in different career fields. Engineering, banks and finance, call centers, and general assistant are some of the areas where vacancies will be announced.

Omar Peralta, head of Employment at the Mitradel announced that next week they will also be holding job fairs at the José Guardia Vega school in Colon, and at the José Guardia Vega in the town of Chitré, province of Herrera, with more than 1,000 vacancies being announced by approximately 150 companies. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: I've seen the announcements for these job fairs, but I never seen any feedback as to results or the success of the efforts. It seems to me that the companies in Panama have gone beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel. They are already actively committing acts of economic cannibalism, stealing good employees from one company to another with promises of better pay, benefits, and working conditions. I wonder how long the Panamanian economy can continue to grow with insufficient workforce.

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MITRADEL Job Fair - Saturday 22 September 2012

Employment & JobsOn Saturday 22 September 2012, more than 2,500 vacancies will be offered in various economic activities, through the Great Mega Fair at the Roberto Duran Gym, located in the district of Juan Diaz. The event, organized by the MITRADEL, will have a schedule from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm with the participation of 100 companies who will offer vacancies. Those attending the fair should bring copies of their resume, photocopies of their ID card, copies of school diplomas (if they have them) and police records. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The employment situation in Panama is not getting any better, from the point of view of the companies who are trying to fill these positions. The people who are showing up to these "Fairs" and other promotions are almost all already working. Practically none of them are either new graduates or unemployed. So, they are mostly just looking for better positions with more pay, benefits, improved working conditions, closer to home, etc. Panama needs more warm bodies to meet the demand for labor, and it's not getting them. Unemployment is now practically zero - and anyone who wants to work, can. Of course there are pockets of unemployment and poverty, mostly in the remote areas in the mountains, because those people choose to live in areas where there are no jobs.

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Want a job? Move to Panama

Employment & Jobsby Ron Buchanan - With the $5.2bn expansion of the Panama Canal, a new metro and airports under construction, along with a raft of luxury hotels, Panama’s 3.5m population can hardly satisfy demands on the nation’s workforce. And now it’s official. Panama is the number one hotspot for jobs in the Americas. The most recent survey by Manpower shows that Panama has a 26 per cent net trend towards job creation – the percentage of companies that aim to hire people in the fourth quarter subtracted by those who aim to lay off personnel. (Click Here to read the full article.)

Editor's Comment: This survey by Manpower confirms what I already knew. Panama is creating more jobs than any other economy in Latin America.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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10,000 Positions Available At "Mega Job Fair" in San Miguelito

Employment & JobsYesterday the fourth "Job Mega Fair" made more than 10,000 job openings in private companies available to Panamanians, said President Ricardo Martinelli, who toured this event held in the parking lots of the bus station in San Miguelito. The president said the companies are taking advantage of the country's economic growth, so therefore then need to recruit human resources, and the Panamanian people have to take advantage of the opportunities. 138 private companies participated in the fair where they presented offers for various vacancies in work areas. The event was attended by 2,334 people. The government of Panama has placed more than 25,000 employees in different jobs at these kinds of fairs in the past three years. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: This is actually a "bad news" article. There are 10,000 openings available just at this job fair. Only 2,334 people showed up, and most of them are already working somewhere else. They just wanted to see what was available, to see if they could jump from one company to another to improve their position, pay, benefits, or what have you. So, there are still many more jobs available than there are people to fill them. This is not good for a hot and growing economy. It's nice that there's now practically zero unemployment (or full employment) in Panama, however if there there no more people, then the economy cannot continue to expand. Need more warm bodies, quickly... I've been saying it for years, something's gotta give. Thanks for reading this article. Now, do NOT send me your damn resume...

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Panama Metro Hiring 700 New Workers

Employment & JobsThe company Panama Metro has seven hundred (700) jobs for immediate recruitment to build the new mass transit and rail set, together with the company Manpower SA Panama and the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development during the recruitment made ​​on Friday August 10 at the premises of this institution. There are vacancies for workshop mechanics, welders, masons, general helpers, carpenters, managers and management, drivers, technical, and maintenance, among others. Samuel Vargas, Director of Employment (MITRADEL), said: "The company for the implementation of the Panama METRO will be training job seekers for a period of 15 days for immediate recruitment in the month of September." These recruitments of personnel are organized by the Directorate of Employment of the MITRADEL, together with private companies to help reduce unemployment in Panama, and create an opportunity for all Panamanians to aspire to a place of employment. (Telemetro)
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CD Want's To Lock In 35,000 Public Employees

Employment & JobsThe political opposition is claiming the Bill introduced by the President of the National Assembly Sergio Galvez - that according to him seeks to provide job security to 192,000 public employees - actually aims to "shield" the more than 35,000 public servants who have been hired during the three years the Cambio Democratico political party has been in office. The Deputy from the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) Leandro Avila said the proposal being made by the CD is contradictory, because when they came to power in 2009 they ignored the Civil Service Law. Meanwhile the Panameñista Deputy Jose Blandon said the CD's proposal seeks to leave without affect the contests for appointments to public service positions. Alfredo Berrocal, the Secretary General of the Federation of Public Servants (FENASEP), said they are wary of the Bill being presented by Galvez. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: One of the elements of the political "game" in Panama is that whenever a new political party comes to power, they squeeze out the "old" guys in order to give jobs to "their" people. There have been a total of five democratically elected presidents since the end of the military dictatorship in 1989, and none of the parties in power have been able to "repeat" or stay in office for more than one five-year term. The end result is every five years there's a purge and a lot of public employees are put out of work, and the new guys are hired. This is more true at the higher level and better paying positions. The lower ranking positions such as secretaries and janitors can generally survive these things, for the most part. But there's little consistency, and some Ministries are almost completely cleaned out when the new guy takes over. Now that the CD is in power their gambit is to try to "lock in" all of the people they have hired. And of course they will argue that it's good for the government, stability, ect.

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Labor Minister Flip-Flops On Honduran Labor Issue

Employment & Jobs
Alma Cortés - Minister of Labor in Panama
Alma Cortés - Minister of Labor in Panama
The Minister of Labor and Workforce Development, Alma Cortés said after the protests by the unions of workers in the construction industry, who are opposed to hiring labor from Honduras, that there is no justification to do so. Cortes denied having signed any agreement and admitted on RPC Radio that the rumor arose after a conversation between the President, Ricardo Martinelli, and his Honduran counterpart. "There is no agreement. We are not going to bring workers from Honduras nor from any other country. The domestic labor laws are not being violated. The jobs and money are for Panamanian nationals," said Cortez. She added that the workers do not have to worry because the jobs being created are for them, and if more labor is needed, then people are being trained for that purpose. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The government flip-flopped on this issue. Martinelli does not want any more fights, and the last thing he wants to do is tangle with the SUNTRACS now. So, they killed his proposal (which they, in fact, had created themselves.)

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Panama Will Import 4,000 Construction Workers From Honduras

Employment & Jobs"Panamanians interested in workers from San Pedro Sula," said the headline on the website of the La Prensa newspaper in Honduras yesterday, and a story saying Panama will import 4,000 laborers from this Central American country to work in the construction sector, especially in the expansion of the Panama Canal. The newspaper - quoting Honduran Labor Minister Felícito Avila - said this job opportunity would be offered from Panama to Honduras and would benefit mainly those from San Pedro Sula. The workers from San Pedro Sula would be hired as the Masters of Projects, carpenters, and plumbers. "Honduras has a high experience with graduates from the Infop (National Vocational Training Institute)" for these position, said Avila in the Honduran newspaper.

An agreement between Avila and Panama's Labor Minister, Alma Cortes, would be the legal framework for the import of 4,000 workers from Honduras. According to the Honduran newspaper La Prensa, that agreement would be signed next August, at a meeting of the Labor Ministers from Central America and the Dominican Republic. Avila has confirmed his participation at the meeting to be held on 7 and 8 August. "We could sign an agreement to establish the parameters of how and under what conditions the Hondurans could leave to that neighboring country," said the Honduran minister.

SUNTRACS On Alert: The Union of Construction Workers and Allied (SUNTRACS) rejected the measure. Genaro Lopez, leader of SUNTRACS said Panama has enough manpower to meet demand in the construction sector. He even said recently the consortium Unidos Por El Canal which is building the Panama Canal expansion project laid off about 300 workers. For the leader, the measure seeks to weaken the union movement in Panama and would present a problem for the country. Foreign workers are not entitled to protest in the case of labor violations, said Lopez. Furthermore, the Government would be importing workers for specific projects and when they conclude, it is likely that these workers will not wish to return to their country, which would generate other problems in Panama, he said.

MITRADEL Statement: The Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel), in a statement, reported they have not received the request from the Honduran authorities for a meeting outside the central theme, which will be on child labor. "But regularly in similar activities the ministers have exchanged ideas, and on this occasion that may be the case," the statement said. The agency clarified that in Panama there are no projects which have been stopped or delayed due to manpower shortages, and "we in the universities, technical institutes and the National Institute for Human Development (INADEH) are training hundreds of Panamanians to form part of the required labor pool."

The information that appeared in La Prensa de Honduras emphasized that Panama is asking for the Honduran labor. "Panama is requiring Honduran labor, and San Pedro Sula is a key city to send qualified personnel to work in the construction of shopping centers and the modernization of road infrastructure in this country," said the newspaper, quoting this time Carlos Montes, Honduran Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. "If the agreement is signed, people who are unemployed will join the productive sector abroad who will be paid in dollars. This will help to narrow the gap of unemployed in San Pedro," expanded Montes. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The importation of labor in this manner will be a controversial step for the Panamanian government to take. They find themselves perched upon the dual horns of a dilemma. They need the additional manpower to keep building stuff as the economy continues to grow, and it's a simple matter of fact that growth has outpaced demographics. There are simply more jobs than there are people available to do them. The Minister of Labor's statement directly conflicts with statements recently made by the Minister of Public Works, who said the government has more infrastructure projects they would like to build, but the construction companies either can't or won't bid on them, because there are no construction workers available to build them. So while it might be a true statement when they say no projects have been cancelled or delayed due to a lack of manpower, it's also true that there would be more projects being built if there were more people available. Once again, politicians splitting hairs. The recent "melting pot" event added about 5,000 additional employees to the temporary labor pool, but very few of them were probably experienced, trained, and capable construction workers. And (as usual) the SUNTRACS guys are looking out for their own concerns. They will probably give these guys a two year visa and work permit, and see how it turns out.

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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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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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Panama Ports Company Trying To Fill 680 Open Positions

Employment & JobsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel) just issued a press release, stating that the Panama Ports Company is trying to fill 680 vacancies for general laborers. The company will be holding a recruiting drive on Friday, 29 June 2012, together with the Mitradel in San Miguelito at the Gran Estacion, in front of the Saray and Saks stores. They are looking for males, between 21 and 35 years of age.

The Panama Ports Company has requested the assistance and support from Mitradel based on their previous experience with these kinds of recruitment drives, because the institution has an extensive database of job seekers at all occupational levels, and they can help companies hold special recruitment drives to fill a large number of vacancies.

Free transportation, food, uniforms and vocational growth as permanent contracts are some of the benefits provided by the company for those job seekers who are selected to join the group of skilled labor. Job seekers should submit their resume, personal identity card, be available to work in rotating shifts and meet the minimum education requirements of having completed the junior year of high school, preferably be able to swim and not suffer from vertigo.

This is just one more example of a company in Panama that has more jobs than there are people available to fill them.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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