San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Government, unions reach agreement, $10 raise unchanged

The government reached an agreement with unions one month after thousands of public employees protested in front of the president’s residence in Zapote, in southeastern San José.

The main issue during the demonstration was a unilateral raise of ₡5,000 per month for public workers – the equivalent of $10.  But after 12 hours of negotiations that began Monday and lasted until 1:30 a.m., the salary increase did not change.

The parties who completed the negotiations said they were satisfied with the results. Two unions, the High School Teachers’ Association and the General Workers Confederation, pulled out of negotiations and have threatened to call more strikes in April.

After the deal was made, Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides, reached out to the unions that left the negotiating table to try to convince them to agree to what was set early Tuesday morning, according to the daily La Nación.

The agreements include:

-Returning to a 2007 formula for determining wages during the second half of the year.

-The government reversed a decision made in November that reduced unions’ power to negotiate salaries for public workers by granting the Budget Authority, a government agency, discretionary power to make unilateral salary decisions.

-The government agreed to discuss the a public employment bill and come to a consensus with unions about what it should say over the next six months.

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