By MarEx 2015-08-11 15:20:10
The expansion of the Panama Canal may face another roadblock unless 6,000 construction workers get an eight percent raise. The workers are represented by the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium who is arguing that workers were due a raise July 1 per a contract with the Panamanian Construction Association.
The GUPC is also demanding a solution to the lack of transportation for workers as well as sanitary improvements. Labor action is expected this week on August 12 unless worker demands are met.
Negotiations between GUPC and the Panamanian government have been ongoing since June, but the protests didn’t until August 8. The workers currently earn between $2.90 and $3.37 per hour depending on skill level.
The strike would come just six days after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Manuel Chaves inaugurated the expansion project
The $5.5 billion expansion project, which has already been delayed by two work stoppages in 2014. The project is about 90 percent complete and is expected to open April 2016.