Panama: SUNTRACS inks 113 OHS declarations with construction companies

The Union of Construction Workers (SUNTRACS), a BWI-affiliated union in Panama, marked this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) by holding its annual month-long occupational health and safety (OHS) campaign. 

Echoing BWI’s global campaign slogan “Jobs shouldn’t kill,” SUNTRACS organised meetings with workers at the national level to raise awareness on adequate OHS measures to prevent workplace accidents.  

SUNTRACS also visited more construction projects to persuade construction and construction material companies to sign joint OHS Declarations with BWI. The union said that the objective of the declarations was to unite with more voices in the fight for the recognition of OHS as a fundamental right. In total, the union managed to sign 113 declarations covering  4,452 workers in small, medium and large construction projects.

“SUNTRACS is committed to achieving recognition of OHS as a fundamental right. This will only be possible when all workers, regardless of whether they work in large or small companies, add their voices to this fight. These declarations are consistent with BWI’s IWMD campaign slogan,” SUNTRACS Occupational Health Secretary Ever Asprilla said.

As part of its activities to conclude its campaign, SUNTRACS organised an event at the Project Metro Line 2 of the Tocumen International Airport. In the said activity, the need for strengthened prevention measures approved by the labour movement was emphasised to the workers employed in the worksite to prevent fatal workplace accidents. Union representatives also took the opportunity to discuss BWI’s global campaign “Global Alliance for Healthy and Safe Workplaces” and the importance of the joint declarations.

A total of 750 workers joined the event. They were led by  trade union and government officials from all over the country, such as Carlos Allen, President of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC), Doris Zapata, Minister of Labor and Development and Ernesto Marval of BWI and SUNTRACS.

A public signing of the OHS declaration with Consorcio Línea 2 Ramal was also held to cap SUNTRACS’ month-long OHS campaign.

In the region, SUNTRACS’ effort to sign OHS declarations was similarly done by UOCRA and UOLRA (Argentina), SOICSCES (El Salvador), SUTFACAP, FETRACEPPE and FTCCP (Peru), INTERGREMIAL (Colombia), SUNTIMAVEN (Venezuela) and STI Químicas São Carlos, SINTICOMP, FEQUIMFAR, STI Químicas Manaus (Brazil).