27/12/2012 - Metro Bus operators insisted today on a wage improvement.
Jorge Rodríguez, spokesman for the operators, said that they are asking for a salary of $800 a month, up from the current salary of $480 with a $100 bonus.
He said the drivers organized the strike yesterday that paralyzed public trnasport in Panama City because the drivers can't feed their families.
Rodriguez said that he and his companions have hopes for dialogue that will be Jan. 10.
"We hope the dialogue is successful because we cannot continue in the same situation," he said.
'AT THE BEGINNING, EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL'
Meanwhile, Inocente Guerra, who apologized to users for the strike yesterday, stressed that several points agreed upon when the service started have not been met yet.
"At the beginning, everything was lovely, but with the passage of time things changed," Guerra said.
One issue is that drivers are often assigned to routes that are distant from their homes, and another is that drivers are afraid to use sick days for fear of losing bonuses. But the biggest issue remains the salaries.
"They committed to a salary of $800, but we are not making it," Guerra asserted.
Mi Bus General Manager Miguel Cardona acknowledged that Wednesday "was a complicated day." He said that the company did not expect a strike to take place.
However, Cardona emphasized that all parties were able to sit down immediately to discuss the situation.
Bu he said that the salaries being paid to the drivers "are competitive."
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