San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Water Institute Protest Continues

A strike by employees of the NationalWater and Sewer Institute (AyA) hasentered its third week and is expected tocontinue into the next, according to strikesupporter Albino Vargas, secretary generalof the National Association of Publicand Private Employees (ANEP).Employees demanding an 18%increase to their salaries have heldprotests outside AyA offices in San Joséand Pavas, west of San José, and lastweek marched to Casa Presidencial,protesting wages they say are lower thanother public workers’ (TT, Oct. 21).Protesters also burned tires in front of theinstitute’s Puntarenas office, according tothe daily La Nación. Vargas said that in a meeting withgovernment officials on Tuesday, LaborMinister Fernando Trejos offered a 9.81%increase to their salaries, and then retractedthe offer. However, Trejos told TheTico Times this is “a lie,” since only AyAexecutives, not Trejos, can offer a raise.According to the minister, on Oct. 20,the government offered AyA employees araise of 8.7% and an additional a back-to schoolbonus to cover children’s schoolcosts of 8.19%.However, the employees rejected theoffer. They demand an 18% raise, andhave said the school bonus does notcount toward that total.According to Vargas, the strike willcontinue Monday outside AyA in Pavas.The strike, declared legal by theJudicial Branch yesterday, became thefirst strike in the past 30 or 40 years toobtain this status, according to an ANEPpress release.The decision means striking workerswill be paid for missed days.

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