Fifty years after the entry into force of the Labor Code in Panama

On April 2, 1972, the Labor Law came into force, which was approved by Cabinet Resolution No. 252 of December 30, 1971It was published in the Official Gazette 17040 on February 18, 1972.

The law, as stipulated in Article 1067, prior to its entry into force was: a legal vacancy 3 months after approval.

But before approving it, it is important to note that the de facto government at that time had important legal data in favor of workers, which it is important to know.

On the one hand, the political event that occurred on October 11, 1968 when the National Guard overthrew the president Arnulfo Arias MadridA temporary board of directors was formed that encouraged “revolutionary purposes” from its inception. The military and civilian members of the said government decided to replace the 1948 law, which the legislation described as an employer, which would, in general, bring social justice to the Panamanian working class, and to fulfill this task, was appointed by Cabinet Resolution 28 of April 21, 1971, regarding the rationing committeewhich was made up of Jorge Fábrega Ponce +, Rosario Oller de Sarasqueta +, Rolando Murgas Torrazza, Luis Shirley, Américo Rivera, Carlos A. Mendoza (who resigned); Later they were named Arturo Hoyos Phillips and Jaime Giovanni. He was his technical advisor Emilio Morgadosent by the Organization of American States at the request of the Panamanian government.

Another important aspect to highlight is that with the advent of the regime of General Omar Torrijos Herrera, and in order to attract workers to his political project, labor legislation gained an extraordinary impetus. Thus, more labor legislation oriented towards special protection for the working class arises with the search for state and social mechanisms, with the aim of providing them with a decent life and embodying dignified social justice.

These criteria were met through the creation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare with Cabinet Resolution No. 2 of January 15, 1969 and then dictate Cabinet Resolution No. 249 of July 16, 1970This is the basic law.

Another measure of social impact was Cabinet Resolution No. 68 of March 31, 1970Under which compulsory coverage of occupational risks for all employees of the state and private companies operating in the Republic of Panama is concentrated in the Social Security Fund.

The Cabinet Resolution No. 168 of July 27, 1971creates an educational insurance tax, which is distributed not only to scholarships and study loans, but a percentage will be used for vocational training and union education.

Also approved Cabinet Resolution No. 221 of November 18, 1971, Which sets the thirteenth month as special compensation for workers.

It is important to note that at that time there was no legislative body, that is, the National Assembly of Representatives, so laws were approved by ministerial decrees, and were ratified by the interim chairman and bouquet ministers.

With regard to the 1972 labor law, the commission used as working documents the preliminary draft of the labor law of 1967, the Mexican labor law of 1970, and ILO conventions, ratified by Panama and Colombia’s labor law.

The 1972 law is one of the most prominent aspects it presents in the individual labor relationship, the most important in my opinion: organizing all workers in the private sector for the work system, such as vehicle drivers, sellers, fishermen, musicians, lanes, teachers and professors, so that labor legislation is applied wherever there is secondary work ; It also established the seniority allowance, established the concept of labor relationship and the criterion of economic dependency; The requirement for approval of labor regulations prior to transfer to workers is defined.

In the aspect of collective labor relations, compulsory collective contracting is established, in the same way that the mandatory contribution of the unionized and non-union worker is determined, when the union celebrates a collective agreement that benefits the non-union worker, or the union majority, the process of collective disputes, such as strikes, is established in the Ministry labor, rather than labor courts; The collective agreement is regulated and the general influences in the company are attributed to it; Extension of protection measures for trade unions, establishment of compulsory arbitration, at the request of the Federation or when the parties so agree; Eliminating the closing or unemployment figure of the company is among the most important aspects.

In labor procedural matters, employers are created, which are compulsory financial penalties.

The labor judge is empowered to sterilize the process, avoid invalidation and establish the correctness of the disputed facts; The labor judge was allowed to issue an additional plus-plus-small judgment; Preemptive hijacking is proven without a bond when there is brief evidence or the illiquidity of the company is perceived; Referred to as the duties of the judge to direct and enhance the process, the free questioning of the party is established, the legal presumptions are established in accordance with the pro-operator principle, the summary process of returning workers to their jobs protected by the jurisdiction is established For the company, the process of requesting permission to dismiss the registered worker, is determined Orality and immediacy in the work process are among the most important innovations.

It is fair to acknowledge and commend, in 50 years of application, the preparers of that time, despite the fact that the Labor Code has undergone many reforms, the first of which is that of the issue of factor stabilityWith Law 95 of 1976, by the way, stability was one of the institutions most questioned by the employer class, because with the 1948 law it had absolute power within its company, and its main argument was that stability would lower production rates.

The stability stipulated in Section 211 abolished the 1948 law regime of free dismissal of an employer, by paying notice, and on this point, I quote from a great labor activist from Panama: Humberto i Recordwho, in referring to the stability of the 1972 law, noted that “it is not an exaggeration to assert that the 1972 legislator, by recognizing the right to stability in the situation of the Panamanian working class, wanted to raise it to the level of a condition of true equality, in the labor relationship, with respect to to the employer; and he wanted to raise the Panamanian worker, from the state of slavery in which the 1948 law was drawn up, to a category Citizens have full rights In the world of basic work, in the sphere of the national economy. ”

In this aspect, the Panamanian labor law followed the Federal Labor Code of Mexico, in Articles 48 and 49 before it was reformed.

To set the limits of stability, coders very precisely define just causes for dismissal, in Article 213, grouping them into three categories: disciplinary, of an unattributable nature, and economic, to avoid free dismissal and when the business was unfairly dismissed, having the right to demand reinstatement; In addition, the worker was given the option to request instead of being reinstated, the payment of compensation, according to the length of service, and the corresponding rule was Article 218 of the Labor Code that after Law 95 of 1976, the choice is up to the employer.

Undoubtedly, the Labor Code of 1972 afforded Panamanian workers the legal opportunity to become a class participating in national destinies, and this was perhaps the vision of its authors, to whom we address this honor and gratitude for their celebration on April 2, fifty years of application of labor regulations, and I am sure It fulfilled the role or ideal of its authors, congratulations on this honor we pay to the workers in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the validity of his work.

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