Banana workers, gov't reach deal to end strike in Panama

15:52, July 12, 2010      

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Striking banana workers reached an agreement on Sunday with the government to end their 10-day strike in western Panama, which had left two people dead and 120 others injured.

The Industrial and Banana Workers Union in the city of Changuinola, the Bocas del Toro province, said the union's General Secretary Gemarp Barrett signed a deal with the country's First Vice President Juan Carlos Varela after two-day talks.

Under the deal, the government agreed to postpone the enforcement of the so-called "law chorizo," or Law No. 30, which includes restrictions on the right to strike and limits the rights of workers to join trade unions.

As Changuinola restored calm on Sunday, a curfew imposed in the region since Thursday after a worker was killed and over 100 others injured in clashes with riot police had been lifted, said Bonifacio Abrego, governor of the Bocas del Toro province.

The airport of Changuinola has been reopened.

About 4,000 members of the banana union and 3,000 independent growers went on strike early this month, demanding better pays and repeal of a new law that they say curbs union powers.

Until Sunday, the banana workers of Changuinola had been striking for 10 days. On Thursday, the peaceful protests and strikes turned violent between workers and riot police, and the clashes went on for three days.

At least two people had been killed and 120 others injured in the conflict. At least 115 people had been arrested.

Under Sunday's agreement, the Panamanian government had promised to release all the arrested people.

Source: Xinhua


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