San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Electricity unions threaten more protests over privatization bill

Unions from the government-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) will meet on Aug. 9 with government representatives to discuss the withdrawal of a bill that promotes private-sector participation in electricity generation.

Fabio Chávez, an ICE labor leader, said Monday that unions are “disappointed” with the absence of government officials during a June 30 protest in San José, during which some 10,000 ICE employees marched to Casa Presidencial in the southeastern district of Zapote.

President Laura Chinchilla said the bill is “top priority for the executive branch” and could be discussed in the Legislative Assembly this week.

Chávez said that “if [unions] decide to protest, they would paralyze the country, because they have more support from ICE workers and other sectors.”

The bill seeks to allow private companies to generate 25 percent of the nation’s energy demand, a decision that unions say would “privatize electricity services in Costa Rica.”

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