San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Public and private workers' unions announce street protests

The National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP) is demanding an amendment to salary laws so that doctors have separate regulations guiding salary adjustments.

Albino Vargas, president of ANEP,  said that “for every ₡1,000 ($2) of wage increases approved for Costa Rican employees, doctors receive ₡4,000 ($8) added to their base salaries because of bonuses and incentives.” Vargas said that makes it necessary to separate doctor salary adjustments from the system used for other sectors.

ANEP will begin lobbying legislators to change the law, and they may use street protests to make it happen.

An ongoing dispute between ANEP and doctors unions began last month when Vargas said doctors’ salary policies are going to bankrupt the Social Security System, or Caja, and that they “keep all other workers from getting fair wage increases.”

Caja Executive President Ileana Balmaceda said last month that the payment of “two economic benefits to doctors and other professionals would cost up to ₡14 billion ($28 million) this year, and that would probably mean the end of the institution.”

Contact L. Arias at

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