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Teachers Strike Paralyzes Schools

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The headquarters of MEDUCA, the Ministry of Education, are on the PanAmerican highway in David and striking teachers may disrupt traffic flow in that area during the next few days.

Teachers Strike Paralyzes Schools

Teachers called a 72-hour strike over a wage dispute

17 teacher unions in the country yesterday rejected the proposal of a staggered wage increase presented by the government and approved a 72-hour strike.

After a general assembly, educators adopted the measure to demand a $300 a month wage increase as well as improvements to schools. The government has countered with a $150 a month increase in both 2017 and 2018.

Diógenes Sánchez, spokesman for the National Union of Educators of Panama, stressed that the teachers are simply asking for what was promised in 2014.

Minister of the Presidency Alvaro Aleman said that the teachers are holding students "hostages" by not engaging in dialogue.

In total, there are 670,769 students affected by the strike.



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We had to make an unplanned (and undesired!) run to David very late afternoon yesterday. That area was clear at the 6:30 pm time frame.

Marcelyn and I did experience a road blockage by the medical people, last year sometime I think it was. The Interamerican Highway was a real mess by the hospitals located close to PriceSmart. There were police all over, including a SWAT vehicle. There was no violence or anger -- just plenty of people walking slowly in the roadway, most holding hands or signs, etc. We got the impression that they block only one direction at a time (maybe that is the law?), but with all the protest people, the "Looky Lou's", the press, the police, the innocent "victims" in their vehicles, etc., the other lane is essentially nearly blocked as well.

Our experience was that Panamanians tend to take these things in stride; just part of the culture -- something to talk about after the fact. [Hyper] gringos have to grin and bear it.

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striking teachers resume talks

Posted on July 20, 2016 in Panama

Teachers march in the rain
Post Views: 49

LEADERS of 17  striking teacher unions resumed their dialogue with the Government on Wednesday July 20  

They met in the offices of the Ministry of Labor to attempt to resolve the issues that led to the 72-hour strike called by the unions on Monday when negotiations were deadlocked.

On Tuesday, teachers marched from Republic of Venezuela School to the Office of the Comptroller General to make their point that they have the right to strike.

The reaction of the unions was due to a request by Minister of Education Marcela de Paredes de Vasquez for the comptroller to monitor the strike.

The ministry and the Confederation of Parents of the Republic of Panama have asked teachers to return to the classrooms.


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Teachers vote to continue stoppage

Posted on July 21, 2016 in Panama

Post Views: 52

STRIKING TEACHERS voted overwhelmingly to continue their work stoppage indefinitely at a mass meeting in Calidonia on Thursday July 21.

The announcement came from  union leader Yadira Pino following a general assembly at the Republic of Venezuela School .

While Pino said that the strike will continue, the leaders of 17 teacher unions returned to the dialogue with the government at the Ministry of Labor in the afternoon.

Humberto Montero, a spokesman for the teachers, said they will continue with the strike until they reach a satisfactory agreement with the government.

After the announcement, hundreds of educators gathered at the Republic of Venezuela School to demonstrate.

Meanwhile teachers across the country marched in support of the strike. The main quibble at the moment appears to be about the timing of a $300 a month raise. Teachers want it now. The government has offered it in two annual instalments.


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President Varela has asked the teachers to stop their highly unpopular strike and return to classes on Monday for the sake of the students who are losing out, saying there are themes that can be debated without a work stoppage.

The 2017 fiscal budget has now been approved by Cabinet which includes 80 million dollars for the teachers' promised salary increase.

El presidente de la República, Juan Carlos Varela, anunció  que,  del presupuesto general,  $80 millones serán para el aumento de los docentes.



Edited by Keith Woolford
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Teachers’ strike prompts cabinet meeting

Posted on July 22, 2016 in Panama

Teachers defy government and weather
Post Views: 77

FACED with his  first major worker confrontation since he took office President Juan Carlos Varela called an emergency cabinet meeting for Friday July 23 to  analyze  its position on the teachers strike which  has been  extended to  five days.

Varela said that the indefinite strike is completely “unnecessary” and has accused union leaders of not being honest with their members about the government’s proposals

Usually meetings are Tuesdays, but , it was scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the 2017 budget.

However, it l instead used the meeting to analyze the teacher strike.

The strike was originally slated for 72 hours, but was extended to indefinite status when the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

A number of groups have asked that the strike be resolved, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Business Executives reports  La Prensa.


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Pay accord sends teachers back to school

Posted on July 24, 2016 in Panama

Teachers to return to classrooms
Post Views: 91

THE GOVERNMENT BOWED to the demands of striking teachers on the weekend and agreed to the previously promised salary adjustment of $300 from the first half of July 2017 instead of introducing it in two stages spread over two years.

In addition, on August 15 the State will pay wages owed to teachers appointed for this school year.

A general assembly of teachers decided to end the strike that started a week ago and authorized the 17 union leadership to sign the agreement with the government on Sunday, July 24.

“It is quite positive agreement,” said Diogenes Sanchez, coordinator of the National Union of Educators of Panama (UNEP), after holding a meeting with his colleagues who arrived in the early hours at the Republic of Venezuela. School


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