Strike Threatens Panama Canal Expansion Project

The deadline to complete the Panama Canal expansion could be pushed beyond the planned April 2016 if unionised workers constructing the Canal’s third set of locks go ahead with the industrial action announced to start on Monday, August 10.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the third set of locks, says it is willing to continue discussions with the National Union of Workers of Construction and Similar Industries (SUNTRACS) over an 8.9% wage increase request. The union also calls for retroactive payment of the previously agreed wage increase.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has repeatedly appealed to both sides to reach an agreement on matters that, by law, only pertain to dealings between GUPC and SUNTRACS members.

The ACP says that it is in no way responsible for labor issues arising from any failure on the part of GUPC to meet labor demands by its subcontractors, and is deeply concerned about the situation and is following closely the developments on the matter as its business may be impacted directly if the work is not carried out efficiently and promptly to deliver the project on time.

The project for the Canal’s third set of locks is currently 93 percent complete.

World Maritime News Staff

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