Categories: Panama

Wildcat bus strike brings chaos to Transistmica

METRO BUS drivers caused massive traffic jams and left thousands of home going workers stranded on Thursday afternoon as they blocked Transístmica in Tumba Muerto after the failure of talks with the Mi Bus company , over working conditions.
The drivers gained little sympathy from passengers, motorists or business leaders.
Long lines of buses were left on the roadway  as drivers stood on nearby sidewalks The decision of the drivers was taken after the Mi Bus company filed an amparo action with the Director General of Labor moving the dispute to the judicial realm and the drivers declared a work stoppage.
Chaos followed on the highway and surrounding streets and crowd control agents of the National Police (PN) and Transit police arrived to clear the way. Drivers were told that the buses were private property and they not have the right to leave them on the highway. Several drivers were arrested and police drivers began to move the buses as dozens of journalists, cameramen and journalists recorded the event.
Some drivers left the scene with the bus keys in their pockets, so a fleet of high powered tow trucks was called in to move the buses to a Mi Bus center Valentín Jaén, the drivers’ lawyer said that the only way they will lift the strike is for President, Juan Carlos Varela,to agree to sign a document in which compensation for drivers is guaranteed.
Javier Fanuco, PN commissioner, said that after moving the buses with the permission of the directors of the Mi Bus company, traffic flow was restored in the area.
President, Juan Carlos Varela, said they will ensure public transport to citizens.
The Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture denounced the paralysis caused by the bus drivers
“Undoubtedly, this is a measure of selfish and irresponsible pressure, which again puts the interests of some over the common good,” said a statement from the CCIAP.
“We call on the authorities to enforce legal regulations, and prevent a recurrence of this sort of action”

David Young :