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SITEA signs new collective agreement with Nestlé



On January 27, following 43 days of negotiations, the Industrial Packaging, Food and Related Workers’ Union (SITEA) signed a new collective bargaining agreement with Nestlé Panama S.A. The agreement will be in force for the next three years.



Marcelino Macías Reyes, SITEA general secretary, explained that negotiations were far from easy, but that in the end they were able to reach a satisfactory agreement that benefits workers.


“The last two weeks of negotiations were the toughest, because that was when we discussed the wage clauses that were pending.”


“In particular, we had to negotiate firmly when it came to the general raise in wages applied to all workers regardless of category and seniority, and the reclassification by category. These are the two clauses that have the greatest impact on wages,” Macías said.


According to SITEA, the company had proposed a general increase of 20,80 US dollars a month, arguing that the minimum wage raise decreed by the government in January had had a major impact in its fixed costs.


Finally, on January 27 the parties agreed on an increase of 10 to 14 cents per hour, which is equivalent to a monthly increase of 30 US dollars. In addition, a monthly bonus of 12 US dollars per year of service was determined.


“We also agreed on a reclassification by category, increasing the minimum wage by 20 cents, which is very significant,” Macías said.


SITEA also noted that it achieved an increase in the number of university and high school scholarships granted, and on the amounts of these scholarships, as well as a 10-percent increase in union hours, among other gains.


“On January 31 and February 2 we held extraordinary assemblies in the Natá and Los Santos workplaces, where the workers decided to approve and ratify the agreement reached with Nestlé Panamá SA,” Maciás said.


The SITEA general secretary took the opportunity to thank IUF Latin America and the Latin American Federation of Nestlé Workers (FELATRAN) for the solidarity and support that they have always shown in the most difficult moments.




From Managua, Giorgio Trucchi


February 14, 2012






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