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News > Panama

Panama's Workers Unions Reject Changes in Social Security Laws

  • Construction workers protest attempts to change labor rights, Panama, Jan. 18, 2021.

    Construction workers protest attempts to change labor rights, Panama, Jan. 18, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @frenadeso

Published 18 January 2021

Citizens reject the resumption of talks set to reform pension funds and increase the retirement age.

The Construction Workers Union (SUNTRACS) on Monday took to the streets to protest attempts by Panama's President Laurentino Corteziño to raise the retirement age and change social security benefits.


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Demanding the reopening of construction projects and the reactivation of suspended contracts, protesters gathered in Cocle, Colon, Bocas del Toro, and Panama City.

SUNTRACSA Education Secretary Jose Viques rejected the resumption of the national dialogue process which is aimed at reforming the Social Security Fund (CSS) and the Labor Code. 

Workers also noted that the dialogue was conditioned by the government and it did not count with the participation of the main union organizations such as the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadeso) and the Independent Union Unity Confederation (Comusi).

On January 2, Cortizo confirmed the resumption of talks regarding the CSS and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic among public, private, and civil society sectors. The national dialogue is also set to address education, security, and basic services.

Social representatives have warned that the CSS program on Disability, Retirement and Death pensions (IVM) suffered from a deficit of about US$900 million.

The last reforms on social security funds took place in 2005 during the presidency of Martin Torrijos (2004-2009). At that time, changes were approved to increase retirement and employers' minimum quotas. 

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