The Panama Canal Administration signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Firefighters Bargaining Unit, which will be in effect for a period of six years, reaffirming a framework of productive labor relations for the future.
The method of negotiation between the parties was based on the formal exchange of proposals and took place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, which facilitated the culmination of the agreement before the end of the first 24-week negotiation period stipulated in the ground rules governing the negotiation process.
Among the general agreements reached during the negotiation process, the following stand out:
- a) Increase to the basic salary of 13.25 % for the six (6) years in effect, effective from the beginning of the pay period 14 of each calendar year. This salary increase is distributed as follows: for 2022, the adjustment will be 3.5 %; for 2023, 2.0 %; for 2024, 1.75 %; and for 2025, 2026 and 2027, 2.0 % each year.
- b) One-time payment for the signing of the collective bargaining agreement equivalent to 30 hours of basic salary.
- c) One-time extraordinary bonus of 40 hours of base salary, considering the outstanding negotiation exercise of both teams, achieving the efficiency of such process before the culmination of the first negotiation period, and also because it incorporates changes that simplify the administration of the agreement and will result in operational efficiencies.
The economic impact of this agreement represents approximately B/.1.7 million during the term of this agreement.
- On March 3, 2021, the Firefighters’ Bargaining Unit requested the Panama Canal Administration to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
- Between April and August 2021, the basic rules that would govern the negotiation process, which were not contained in the body of the collective bargaining agreement, were agreed upon.
- The aspirational proposals of both parties were exchanged on November 25, 2021.
- The first negotiation period began on January 12, 2022, and the final agreement was reached on June 6, 2022, after only 21 weeks had elapsed.