BWI and SUNTRACS visit Panama’s Metro line 3 project
Last 19-20 January, BWI and the National Union of Workers of Construction and Similar Industries (SUNTRACS) visited the Metro Line 3 construction site in Panama and had a meeting with its workers and management.
The visiting team was comprised of BWI Global Coordinator for Construction Linnea Wikstrom, BWI Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Policy Officer Ernesto Marval, and representatives of SUNTRACS.
The visited construction site is one of the infrastructure projects being monitored by BWI’s 555 Program, an overarching organising program focused on working on five large-scale construction projects in each of the five regions where BWI is present at, all within the timeframe of five years. The work site employs more than 4,000 workers wherein 80 percent are reportedly organised.
In the meeting attended by the BWI visiting team, project employees, and the management, the idea of workers acquiring proofs of certification after completing trainings provided by the project to enhance their future employability was discussed. The workers’ health and safety concerns on their work shifts and the new tunneling work was also raised.
A strategy meeting with representatives of the SUNTRACS National Board was also held. This was led by SUNTRACS General Secretary Saul Mendez Rodriguez, who is also one of the newly-elected Vice Presidents of BWI.
Ways on how to sustain awareness-raising trainings and union membership in between infrastructure projects was tackled. Daily toolbox meetings and constant communication with the union rank-and-file through shop stewards were also highlighted as some examples of good practices that must be emulated by other trade unions.