Unions in Rodman stand off
PANAMA. Members of the Construction Union (Suntracs) had a standoff on Monday with another union when they demanded that the constructi...
PANAMA. Members of the Construction Union (Suntracs) had a standoff on Monday with another union when they demanded that the construction of the megaport, located on the land of Panama Internacional Terminal, in Cocolí, Rodman be stopped as stipulated by an order of the Labor Ministry.
La Estrella’s photographer, Bienvenido Velasco was pushed and detained, while he was trying to take photographs of the battle between the two groups.
The police arrested seven unionists in order to restore the order and avoid further violence.
One of the arrested was carrying a rifle together with 20 rounds, which he used to intimidate his rivals. A policeman was injured during the fight.
Yesterday, 50 workers of the A/D. V/S Consortium S.A. Proyect Panamá International Terminal, the company which is building the megaproject took over the offices of the Labor Minister Alma Cortés, to demand that the building site be closed until the company complies with employee demands.
A spokesman of the Suntracs, Juan Rosero said that on June 25 a group of workers signed a petition and gave them to company representatives, but nothing happened.
He added that the company is not providing them with protection equipment, has not appointed a person in charge of the security of the employees and is not paying fair wages.
Rosero said that the time for negotiations prescribed by the law has expired and for that reason after seven days of waiting, the workers decided to go on strike.
According to Rosero, after ordering the closure of the project, the company will have to request a counting of votes from the workers with regards to going on strike and then they will go into an arbitration process.
The workers also asked for the arrest of Rogelio Ramos, alias “Juana Peña”, who they claim is behind the murder of the laborer Osvaldo Lorenzo.
Minister Cortes asked her deputy, Luis Ernesto Carles to visit the building site to confirm or deny the workers’ claims.
Vice-minister Carles, after finishing the inspection confirmed that the company was violating the workers rights and ordered the closure of the project.
After that Suntracts members marched through Balboa Avenue.