A consortium of construction companies building a new set of locks for the Panama Canal said it has agreed to increase the minimum wage of workers on the job.
Grupos Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) said in a statement that workers were expected to return to work Monday, ending a week long strike.
reported union officials as saying they had reached a deal to increase the minimum hourly wage for workers from $2.90 to $3.34.
About 6,000 workers walked off the job last week, halting construction on the locks, a key element of the expansion which will allow much larger ships to use the waterway.
Other construction projects at the canal, such as dredging, which are being done by other contractors, continued during the dispute.
The exisiting canal also continued to operate normally during the strike.
Reportedly the strike began after a flaw in a payroll system resulted in some workers not receiving overtime and weekend pay, but GUPC said those wages were to be paid last week.
Worker discontent also appears to be fueled by inflation in the country. For example, the Website Newsroom Panama
said in November, the consumer price index was 6.8 percent higher than a year earlier.
GUPC is a consortium of four companies: Sacyr Vallehermoso of Spain, Impregilo in Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgian and Cusa of Panama. — Chris Dupin