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    -40.170
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  • OTRI.USA
    21.930
    0.010
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  • OTVI.USA
    13,686.380
    -35.040
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  • TLT.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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American ShipperShipping

Strike at Panama Canal averted

Agreement between contractors and construction union means work will continue on the waterway’s new locks.

   The Panama Canal
Authority (ACP) said the main contractor for
the third set of locks project, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), and
the National Union of Workers
of Construction and Similar Industries (SUNTRACS), have reached an agreement
which supersedes a strike call last week that could have halted construction work on the canal’s new locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific ocean sides.  
   GUPC a consortium of four large construction companies—Sacyr
Vallehermoso of Spain, Impreglio of Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgium and
Luxembourg, and Constructora Urbana (CUSA) of Panama, said it had reached an agreement to avoid another strike in the project which would have begun Aug. 12.
   Construction work on the canal was briefly halted in January 2012 over wages. The BBC reported at that time the minimum hourly wage had been increased from $2.90 to $3.34.
   GUPC said the union wanted a new annual wage increase of 8.9 percent, effective back to July 1, for 6,000 workers. The consortium said an increase given to workers last year was considered valid for the remainder of the contract increase. But GUPC said it would make an additional financial sacrifice to avoid a strike that would jeopardize the delivery schedule of canal. GUPC said “The parties have agreed as follows: $4.81 for qualified categories and 5 percent for other categories, retroactive from July 1, 2015,” but did not provide additional details.
   The consortium said it “reached an agreement on good terms as a result of a last effort, in which we participated contractor and union as the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), despite being the owner of the work and meet the financial commitments had to GUPC assume, has ignored negotiation.”
   ACP said work on the project has reached 93 percent completion.
   A strike had been threatened for later this week.

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.