May 5th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Educators’ unions will go on strike across the country beginning today, claiming some 7,000 teachers have been owed wages since as early as January. The Ministry of Public Education (MEP) blames the problem on technical issues related to their payroll system.
Last month, MEP had promised to pay all past-due salaries during the month of May, but union leaders are tired of waiting.
Most of the unions involved are of public sector educators, such as the National Association of Secondary Schoolteachers (APSE), though some private sector educators have promised to participate in solidarity.
Union leaders have called for a total closure of all schools in the country today, and plan to begin marches in their local school districts. Demonstrations will continue tomorrow, and on Wednesday educators from across the country plan to travel to San José in some 100 buses for mass demonstrations.
Roadblocks are expected in Guanacaste, San Carlos, Perez Zeledon, San Ramon and other areas of the country today and tomorrow, leading up to the larger demonstration in San José on Wednesday, which is expected to cause significant traffic problems in the city.
Union leaders said their strike would last indefinitely until all past-due wages are paid. According to union leaders, teachers and other employees have faced foreclosures on their homes, while others have been jailed for being unable to make child support payments – some even arrested in their classrooms, union leaders claim.
The problem affects not just teachers, but janitors, school cooks, and other employees in the country’s public school system.
Union leaders are calling on parents not to send their children to school and support “hungry educators,” adding they are unable to provide a quality education while facing financial turmoil.
Union leaders added that they would suspend their demonstrations on Thursday for the inauguration of President-elect Solís, but resume their protests on Friday.