San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Teachers unions call for a strike on Friday

The High School Teachers’ Association (APSE) called for a national strike on Friday and from 11 am  teachers will meet in La Hispanidad roundabout, East of San José, to march to Casa Presidencial where they expect to deliver a list of demands to President Laura Chinchilla.

APSE president Beatriz Ferreto said the goal is to mark the international day of women and also “criticize labor policies and changes the government intends to apply in salary bonuses and incentives.”

The government through a press release sent from the Labor Ministry dismissed the strike call and said they have been open to dialogue with union groups.

“We do not understand how it is that unions’ representatives are calling for a strike Friday, when they formally confirmed that on Thursday they will be presenting a proposal to improve salary policies, and now they call for a strike without even sitting at the table to discuss the document,” said Labor Minister, Olman Segura Bonilla in the statement.

Ferreto even asked parents not to send their children to schools, as “all the country’s teachers will join the protest.” However other teachers’ unions as the National Association of Educators and the Costa Rican Education Union have not yet confirmed whether they will participate in the march.

The purported draft bill would cut extra salary incentives that are exclusive to educators, including higher severance pay than most public workers, annuities, extra pay for work outside of the classroom (grading homework at home, for example), and “exclusivity” pay, which is a salary bonus so that teachers don’t take a second job.

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