San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Unions Continue to Reject Salary Increase Offer

A public salary increase of 4.5% is amockery of the working class, the NationalAssociation of Educators (ANDE)announced this week, after receiving thelatest offer from the government.The 4.5% offer is 1% more than an originaloffer made last month, but is still a farcry from the 6.26% rate of inflation fromthe first semester.“This continues to be insufficient to survivein this high cost of living,” said EdgarMorales, adjunct Secretary General ofNational Association of Public and PrivateEmployees (ANEP).In the past week, gas, water, bus andelectricity prices have increased, ANDEpresident Eduardo Rojas pointed out in astatement.Union leaders are threatening anothernational strike. Thousands of workers wenton a one-day strike last week in support oflabor rights (TT, July 30).“We cannot wait much longer (foranother strike). We have to take advantageof people’s frustrations with this right now,”Morales said.President Abel Pacheco said Tuesday athis weekly Cabinet meeting he would liketo raise public salaries more, but doing sowould make the country unstable, becauseof the growing fiscal deficit.Finance Minister Alberto Dent said lastweek that with no fiscal reform, therewould be very little salary adjustments for2005. The 2005 budget if a new fiscal planis not approved would also result in no newteacher positions or school construction.Rojas told The Tico Times such a scenariowas a bluff to persuade legislators toapprove the controversial and much delayedfiscal reform.

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