Compensation for dock workers on stand by
The workers have been fighting for compensation since 1997 after they were made redundant, when the ports of Balboa and Cristobal were p...
The workers have been fighting for compensation since 1997 after they were made redundant, when the ports of Balboa and Cristobal were privatized and the concession given to Panama Ports Company.
According to Solorzano the workers received compensation payments soon after the ports were privatized and signed documents saying that they were satisfied with the money they received and that they would not put forward any future claims.
However, they continued arguing saying that there were outstanding benefits in kind, such as the 13th month that was not paid during the time of the military crisis. They also claimed holidays, 40 working hours and change of phases.
In 2006 the National Assembly passed a law to compensate dock and railroad workers, after that the AMP made a series of payments to cancel outstanding amounts.
Solorzano added that in 2007 the dock workers requested the payment for the same compensation although they had already received the money and had not presented more petitions for payments.
In 2007 arepresentative of the workers, Gioconda Fernandez presented a claim asking for $15 million for the workers losing their job, which means that each employee will receive $5,500.
In January 2008 the board of directors of the AMP recognized the payment of the 40 working hours, the change of phases, the 13th month and holidays.
It did not agree with the payment of 10 percent compensation for the workers.
The case was taken to the Supreme Court that ordered the AMP to pay 10 percent compensation, although they were public servants.
Solorzano and the board of directors believe that the compensation should not be paid for time of employment, until each workers working history in the ports has been investigated so the payment can be calculated. “We need to do our homework to avoid any problems in future with regards to how the money of the institution was used.”
The workers are unhappy because of the constant delays on the part of AMP and allege that the institution is always finding one excuse or another to delay payment of them what they are entitled to under the law.