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[Updated] Panama Canal Workers' Strike Averted

Canal

Published Aug 13, 2015 3:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

The expansion of the Panama Canal might have faced another roadblock after 6,000 construction workers demanded they receive an eight percent pay raise.

However, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has now expressed its satisfaction after 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), reached an agreement which supersedes a strike call in the new locks’ construction work for both the Atlantic and the Pacific sides.

The ACP issued a statement saying it hopes the new agreement marks the continuation of a harmonious relationship between both parties, and thus the completion of the work on schedule, but has not yet announced details of the deal reached. 

The workers claimed they were due a raise on July 1 according to a contract with the Panamanian Construction Association.

The GUPC has also been demanding a solution to the lack of transportation for workers as well as sanitary improvements. Labor action was expected this week on August 12 unless worker demands were met.

The $5.5 billion expansion project has already been delayed by two work stoppages in 2014. The project is 93 percent complete and is expected to open April 2016.