SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 24th, 2012 – Perhaps taking a page from the playbook of the Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago in the United States, the Association of High School Teachers (APSE) in Costa Rica warned on Friday that there is a major strike coming towards the end of October, which they say will be “the mother of all strikes.”
Teachers aim to stop a law currently being debated, which they say will affect severance payments, annuities and other benefits that are paid to the employees of the public sector.
Beatriz Ferreto, president of APSE, said that if the bill were to be approved, it would have “terrible consequences on the salary policies of the Government’s public jobs.”
“We will not accept this country to become the leader of violation of worker’s acquired rights, “ said Ferreto in a press conference.
“The bill that the Government presented on August 29th will do away with all (benefits and incentives), which, in many cases, represent 40% of the educational worker’s income and may end in firing people.”
The strike will also be opposing the proposed Law for Efficient Management of Public Finances, which has the purpose of establishing budget controls and gaining access to information of public institutions. The teachers are also protesting “out of line” increases in the rates for electricity, water and phone services.
According to Ferreto, the strike will begin after a national information campaign.
“We have a meeting to prepare with all the workers on October 3rd, so that we can all reach a general agreement. In previous meetings, all of the headquarters have expressed their opposition to this bill, “ she said.
Ferreto did not rule out an indefinite strike.
The government’s proposal was presented before the National Commission on Salaries for the Public Sector in late August, where it will be debated for six months. The Government states it is interested in reaching agreements with all unions.