San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Unions and government negotiators fail to reach agreement on salary increase

After a six-hour meeting Monday, representatives of labor unions and government authorities could not agree on details of a government-mandated ₡5,000 ($10) monthly salary raise for public employees, issued by decree last month.

Union officials, who rejected the hike, issued ​​a counterproposal to the Executive Branch, asking for a 1.9 percent salary increase to be retroactively applied beginning in January 2012.

Chinchilla rejected the union proposal, saying that she could not commit to the request because the government lacks the financial resources to offer higher salaries.

Government officials previously had suggested they could proceed according to a 2007 agreement, which requires calculating inflation to determine wage increases.

Union leader Beatríz Ferreto, from the High School Teachers’ Association, said unions will discuss their next step with members in the next 15 days, before returning to negotiations with the government.

“The negotiation isn’t over, but we’ve made ​​important advances, and some of the issues we discussed in the previous meeting have been clarified,” said Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides.

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