ICE workers preparing for “indefinite strike” in 2014

ICE strikers

File photo

December 3rd, 2013 ( The labor union known as FIT, which represents workers of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), has announced that ICE workers are preparing for an “indefinite strike” beginning in January 2014.


The threat comes in response to the possible approval of the Contingency Power Act, which would allow the private sector to participate in power generation.


Fabio Chaves, general coordinator of FIT and president of the Association of Industrial Employees in Communications and Energy (Asdeice), said authorities want to further privatize the electricity sector in order to break the “model of solidarity” and dismantle ICE’s electric division.


Chaves said that the privatization of the electricity sector undermines Costa Rican society.

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  • Joe1047

    Maybe instead of striking they should just step it up and provide a better, more efficient service?

    • mhogan

      But efficiency, too, “undermines Costa Rican society” does it not?

  • Derryl Hermanutz

    The promise of privatization is more efficient service and lower product prices. The reality is first the private corporation buys the infrastructure for a fraction of what it cost to build it. Then they lay off all the service workers and replace them with an answering machine so you will never again be able to talk to a human being. This is done in the interest of holding down costs. But instead of reducing the price they charge for their cost-reduced services, they keep prices the same and use all the cost savings to jack up executive salaries and bonuses. Management, of course, need annual increases in salaries and bonuses, so the company squeezes its workers by refusing to raise their salaries and wages. Pretty soon the workers who provide electricity can’t afford to buy electricity for their own houses, because management is taking all the income from the business. Then, God forbid the private company ever needs to invest in maintaining or adding to the infrastructure, the costs are all added to everybody’s electricity bill, just like in the supposed bad old public monopoly days. We’ve seen this promise of privatization many times, and it always turns out the same. Same or higher consumer prices, crumbling infrastructure, zero customer service, unhappy workers, and fat managers sucking up all the money. What’s not to like about privatizing public services?

    • mhogan

      From your comments, sounds like you’re describing Costa Rica’s monopoly with ICE and the country’s socialistic leanings as opposed to other countries who don’t (although they are harder and harder to find). Better to compare Panama with Venezuela vis-a-vis monopolistic practices and see where that argument takes you. Seems like you feel the latter is preferable and where CR is headed. Jeez, some commentators sure like “to carry water” for the status quo. Better to consider CR (and other countries) escalating electricity costs on economic impacts of green romanticism.

    • Gene Warneke

      You do describe contemporary capitalistic practices quite well. However, as mhogan commented, you have also pretty much described ICE as it now exists. So, are there any choices available.

  • Yeims

    Monopolies, especially government monopolies, are just about the worst way to go there is. They are ALWAYS inefficient to the extreme, and extremely costly to the clients. That’s why they are against the law in many countries having greater wisdom in these matters than Costa Rica.

  • tica chica

    ICEs monopoly may be distasteful and its customer service a joke but instead of striking to protect the status quo, why don’t the rank and file realize they are cutting off their noses to spite themselves? The execs will continue to do less for more pay, ride around in new vehicles and take paid holidays to watch soccer games.