The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has raised more concerns about safety issues at the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal.
The union cites a 2011 study commissioned by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) which recommended types and number of vessels for the tugboat fleet to properly handle conditions in the locks. But the ITF says those numbers have never been realized.
On top of that the union claims the ACP has been utilizing tugboats from privatized, non-union companies to make up for the shortfall in its own fleet, which ITF says is a way to shut out unionized workers.
The new locks have been operating since the official opening of the expanded Canal in June.
Other instances of privatization include outsourcing emergency medical services in the event of accident, which the ITF again says weakens worker safety.
Six months ago, prior to the inauguration of the new locks, the ITF had also raised the alarm about worker safety there.