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Strikes in Panama

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8-day strike ends and Bimbo restarts


Posted 18/03/2022

Bimbo's operations restarted this Friday, after more than eight days of paralysis due to the strike initiated by the Industrial Union of Flour and Allied Workers (SITHA) that demanded salary increases.

In a statement, the Bimbo company, which has 80% of the industrial sliced bread market in Panama, reported that they reached an agreement with the Union on the points of the Collective Agreement that will govern the next three years.

“We have maintained respect for the rights of our collaborators as a priority in all these years of operation in the country, a principle that has prevailed in each collective bargaining. We are convinced that constructive and reasoned dialogue is our pillar for managing healthy labor relations with all our staff”, said the company.

With the agreement, they resumed activity throughout the country. The company serves 12,000 customers between supermarket chains, distributors, and grocery stores.


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Construction workers mount “warning” strike


Posted 01/04/2022

Members of the Single Union of Construction and Similar Workers (Suntracs) held what they called a "warning strike" causing traffic congestion at locations across the country on Friday morning, April 1.

The Suntracs leadership has reiterated that it was unanimously and definitively approved to start the indefinite national strike on April 4. This, if there is no agreement with the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac) regarding the salary for the 2022-2025 collective agreement.

Pickets were carried out on the Inter-American highway, at the height of the 7 de Septiembre neighborhood in Arraiján, and on the Centenario highway in front of Health City.

Similar demonstrations have been reported in Paitilla, San Francisco, and in the provinces of Colón and Chiriquí.

“Since September of last year, we have been negotiating the collective agreement. Employers have to make serious proposals,” said union leader Saúl Méndez.

For Capac, salary levels in construction, even without the proposed increase, are among the highest in the productive sector.

"Capac has presented sustainable wage offers, with the objective goal of maintaining current jobs and promoting new employment opportunities for the unemployed," said the organization.


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Construction workers union and employers in permanent session as strike looms


Posted 02/04/2022

Representatives of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac) and the Single Union of Construction and Similar Workers (Suntracs) are in negotiations, as they have not reached an agreement on salary for the collective agreement for 2022-2025.

Meetings have been scheduled for both Saturday and tomorrow, Sunday reports La Prensa.

Similarly, it is expected that a delegation from Capac will hold a meeting with President  Laurentino Cortizo, in the Presidency.

This week, Capac reported that it recommended to the companies that belong to this organization that they guide the workers so that they do not join the strike called by Suntracs for April 4,

Worst moments
 Capac gave 10 reasons for rejecting the protest measure, among which is the fact that "the current state of the economy and the construction industry is going through one of its worst moments in history, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organization stated that the strike decreed by Suntracs undermines the confidence of investors and developers, in addition to limiting the possibility of undertaking new projects.

"In the current conditions of the industry, it is more important to preserve existing jobs and not propose exaggerated increases for non-existent jobs," was part of Capac's considerations.

Suntracs, for its part, has reiterated that, if an agreement is not reached between the parties, they will go on strike starting Monday The leadership, which carried out a warning strike on Friday, points out that it advocates "dignified" salary adjustments to face the high cost of living in the country.

Its leaders estimate that about 20,000 workers would the strike.


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Final hours agreement voids construction strike call


Posted 04/04/2022

After six months of talks, the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac) and the construction workers union (Suntracs) reached an agreement on the salary for the 2022-2025 collective agreement early Monday, April 4, just hours before a strike call for 20,000 workers which would have seriously hampered Panama’s post-pandemic recovery.

The Suntracs leadership reported that the salary adjustment consists of $0.28 cents over four years for the general assistant, $0.32 cents for beginners and $0.40 cents for the qualified worker. This increase represents 6% more than the current remuneration and will come into force in July.

"The understanding prevailed that we are all Panamanians, that we understand the reality of our country that is in a process of recovery and economic reactivation," said the Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, after signing the agreement.

Conversations between Capac and Suntracs for the signing of a new collective agreement have been going on for six months, but no agreement has been reached. The parties even declared themselves in permanent session over the weekend and it was not until early Monday morning that they reached an understanding.

Carlos Allen, president of Capac, stated that the union's negotiating committee evaluated the entire situation in the country, highlighting that the worst economic and health crisis is being experienced.

In addition, that they should reach that number in the salary adjustment that will not weaken the companies or affect the industry.

“After a long negotiation with the union, we reached a salary agreement, and the clauses that were needed, for the benefit of the industry and what it can support,” Allen said.

The agreement that we have just signed covers 20,000 workers, who represent 20,000 families and naturally improve their conditions for the next four years," said Suntracs leader Saúl Méndez.


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Striking lab technicians seek  CSS response


Posted 08/04/2022

After five days with no response from the government, striking clinical laboratory technicians and assistants continued their protests on Friday, April  8 at the premises of the Social Security Fund (CSS) in Clayton to demand respect for their work and their rights.

"We are in the CSS premises expressing our feelings and that we receive to the petitions that have been submitted to the competent authorities, but it seems that there is no will," said Oriel Moreno assistant laboratory technician.


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Teachers call indefinite strike as negotiations collapse


Posted 07/07/2022

The members of teachers' unions who were negotiating with educational authorities in Santiago de Veraguas broke off the dialogue on Thursday afternoon and left the table chaired by the Minister of Education, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos.

The Minister said that the table is still open to try to resume the dialogue again.

“We are significantly concerned that they have left the table and decreed an indefinite strike. We are once again sacrificing Panamanian students,” she said.

Gorday de Villalobos added that children's rights cannot be violated and this will impact their education.

The representatives of the teachers' associations said that the delegation sent by the government did not present any type of proposal.

Earlier, the teachers had warned that if the price of fuel is not frozen, they will get up from the table and continue with the indefinite strike measure .

The head of Education added that teachers would be told why the price of fuel cannot be frozen because if that is done, other subsidies would have to be eliminated.

Prior to the meeting, the minister indicated that the result of the learning recovery process continues to maintain alarming levels in terms of basic subjects, so, taking this into account, the idea is to be able to reach mediation in order to maintain dialogue, but with schools open.

"We are waiting for the different proposals from the sectors that are going to participate," said the minister.

The Minister of Security, Juan Manuel Pino, urged the teachers' unions to use dialogue as a way to resolve national problems and avoid confrontations.

"The solution to these problems is dialogue, no confrontation in the world ends well, there are always damages," he stressed.

In various parts of the country marches were held on Thursday, by teachers and different sectors that demand, among other things, the freezing of fuel prices reports TVN.


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STRIKE CALL: Doctors give the government 48 hours to respond


Posted 09/07/2022

The Association of Doctors, Dentists, and Related of the Social Security Fund (Amoacss) has given  the government 48 hours to respond to their demands or they will call a 48-hour expandable strike. They want the government  to initiate "tax savings, end the botellas (insider jobs)  and superfluous expenses", in order to achieve a reduction in taxes and a reduction in the price of fuel,

The announcement by the Amoacss in coordination with interns and residents, medical bases, professionals, and technicians from the health sector throughout the country respond to the current socio-economic crisis.

In a statement they express their concerns such as the premature removal of masks, and the rise in fuel costs without measures to stop it, causing an increase in electricity and food for all Panamanians.

They also refer to the recently launched MedicSol program, which in their opinion does not solve the problem of drug shortages and the state of physical abandonment of the facilities, lack of supplies, and medicines, which have even led to the suspension of surgeries due to lack of gauzes.

Similarly, they mention the “permanent disrespect for doctors and workers in the health sector, such as the non-appointment of staff who worked on covid or deducting wages from workers who survived, disrespect and illegalities, especially internal doctors, with suspensions of contracts due to cuts, not paying shifts on time, not paying salaries for months after working, abuses by placing doctors to work outside functions because the government saves itself by exploiting them, as well as the illegal imposition of guarantors so that a doctor can specialize ”

They warn that “if these urgent fuel and basic basket measures are not complied with, together with an effective negotiation of the demands of the sectors, we call on all doctors, dentists, interns, and residents, as well as all workers in the health sector, to join in a great national stoppage of 48 hours extendable; for which we  invite all patients and retirees to join in this national protest.”


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Employers  ask construction workers to rethink strike


Posted 11/07/2022

The Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac) called on the members of the Single Union of Construction Workers (Suntracs), to reconsider the decision to declare stoppages or strikes that affect the development of the activity that is beginning to be reactivated.

In a statement, Monday, Capac said that it understands the reasons for the manifest concerns and the adhesion that Suntracs may have to the popular complaints, for which they call for reflection so that they avoid adding greater causes of affectation to the critical moments. 

"A few months ago, the country applauded the fact that Capac and Suntracs reached a collective bargaining agreement, avoiding the paralysis of the industry, aware of what a strike implies in the sector, given its repercussions on the economic reactivation of the country, in the creation of jobs and fulfilling its role as a multiplier factor of our economy”, says the document.

In addition, they point out that it is time for the Government, private companies, workers, and all sectors to resort to dialogue as the best way to resolve conflicts and address popular complaints for the well-being of all Panamanians.

Earlier, members of this union carried out closures and protests in the Panamanian capital.


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Transporters strike put on hold


Posted 27/07/2022

A  planned stoppage by land freight transport unions, set to start Wednesday, July 27 to demand the opening of the roads,  has been suspended but the National Coordinator of Containerized Cargo Transportation warned that they will remain vigilant, evaluating the national situation to determine the new actions to be taken.

The union added that they seek to guarantee the safety of collaborators, colleagues, work teams, and cargo that is transported.

In  an earlier, statement announcing the stoppage, land cargo carriers demanded that the Government free movement through the country's roads.

They pointed out that as a result of the closures dozens of containers had remained in the Colon Free Zone and the ports, causing additional costs for storage, in addition to losses due to being trapped in a dam, costs that are approximately estimated at one million dollars. daily.

The land freight transport unions had indicated that there should be a firm commitment on the part of the Government to immediately attend to the points presented at the dialogue table, although they warned that they were not represented at the table.


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