More Trouble For Panama Canal Expansion Project

The project that was interrupted In February over a dispute over cost overruns, was halted Wednesday for a strike by workers demanding higher wages.

It almost appears like the Panama Canal expansion project will never be completed. 

After work on the expansion was interrupted earlier this year over a dispute about who would pay for cost overruns, now news from The Tico Times says that work was once again halted Wednesday, this time for a strike by workers demanding higher wages.

“The project to enlarge the Panama Canal … is paralyzed,” said Saúl Méndez, secretary general of the construction-worker union Suntracs.

Work had halted for 15 days in February in an argument over who would pay for an estimated $1.6 billion in cost overruns in the multi-billion-dollar project to build extra locks on the 80-kilometer (50-mile) waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The project was already running late, and is now estimated to be up to a year behind schedule. It had originally been due to be completed next year.

Now the union is demanding wage increases of 20 percent, which the employers have said is excessive.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium running the expansion project, said that Suntracs workers “are heeding the call to strike,” which “is impacting the work schedule of this project.”

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