Appeals panel rejects ordering delay on port job

The appeals panel of the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo rejected today the Moín dock workers union’s request for delay on approving the contract for a $1 billion port concession

Government officials said they were pleased.

This was a key decision that could have delayed the concession under which a Dutch firm has agreed to construct a modern port facility.

Opposing the plan is the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva, known as Sintrajap, whose members now work on the public docks in Moín.

The decision today was on the so-called medida cautelar or restrictions sought by the union. The initial trial panel declined to order medida cautelar that would have stopped the signing of the contract between the Dutch firm APM Terminals and the government. This is the decision that the union has appealed.

Regardless of the decision today, more litigation is likely and the case still has to be heard on its merits. The union is challenging the award of a concession. It would prefer that the government invest funds in the public docks. The government says it does not have the money. The union said that the new docks do not have an environmental study to show the impact.

A union spokesperson said that an unfavorable decision today might result in a the Sala IV constitutional court appeal. In any event, a court fight is likely to drag on for years.

Japdeva Is the acronym of the Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica, the government agency that runs the ports.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo is a body that evaluates the legality of government actions.

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