Only 10 percent of workers join Social Security strike

July 18, 2011

A call for a massive strike by workers for the country’s Social Security System (Caja) seems to have failed. On Tuesday, the initial day of the protest, the government reported only 10 percent of employees joined the strike.

Doctors, nurses, psychologists and other workers for the Caja began an indefinite general strike Tuesday. The strike was supposed to stp patient’s care in all major public medical centers in the country, such as Hospital Mexico and Hospital San Juan de Dios. Public hospitals had delays and canceled appointments, but for the most part functioned without any major problems.
 
By late afternoon, Ileana Balmaceda, the Caja’s executive director, said thethe institution’s lawyers decided to initiate proceedings to declare the strike illegal.
 
Costa Rican law states a strike can be declared illegal if less than 60 percent of those working for the same employer join the movement. Balmaceda also insisted that strikers could be fired.
However, union leaders claimed that more than 90 percent of Caja employees joined the strike. They accused government authorities of providing false information to the press.

The strike comes after a ruling from the Attorney General’s Office made it illegal for Caja workers to receive 100 percent of their salary while on sick leave. The majority of workers in the country are allowed just 60 percent of their wages under the same circumstances.

However, unionists argue that full payment of wages during a sick leave is a protected right negotiated years ago, and it must be respected.

“The only option we have right now is to strike, as our employer, the government-is not showing any respect for our rights,” Sequeira said.

A fmeeting between union leaders and members of the Caja’s board of directors Monday evening failed to prevent the strike.

Caja authorities advised employees to not join the strike, saying it is not the right way to solve problems.

This strike comes amid a controversy over the financial future of the Caja. Last Friday, a study from the Pan American Health Organization revealed that a failure to stop the increasing costs of the institution could drive the Caja into bankruptcy by 2015.

Strike organizers called on all unions in the country to join a larger protest Thursday at 10 a.m. in downtown San José.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

The future of tropical forests restoration is community led
Environment & Wildlife
102 views
Environment & Wildlife
102 views

The future of tropical forests restoration is community led

Fabíola Ortiz - October 21, 2018

The future of restoring tropical forests should not be exclusively in the hands of governments, argues Rebecca Cole, director of…

Five dead in Costa Rica rafting accident
Costa Rica
2318 views
Costa Rica
2318 views

Five dead in Costa Rica rafting accident

AFP - October 21, 2018

Four U.S. tourists and a fifth Costa Rican were killed after a river rafting accident on Saturday, the Red Cross…

Mexico opens border to women and children from migrant caravan
Honduras
1484 views
Honduras
1484 views

Mexico opens border to women and children from migrant caravan

AFP - October 20, 2018

Mexican authorities on Saturday allowed dozens of women and children from the Honduran migrant caravan to pass into its territory,…