Police officers protest for better working conditions

April 22, 2013

A group of police officers protested Monday morning at San José’s Central Park demanding wage increases and the approval of a bill that would allow them to retire earlier than other public workers, among other benefits.

Some 75 officers of the National Police, Immigration, and Prison Police, were joined by their families at 10 a.m., and then marched to the Legislative Assembly.

The officers, assisted by members of the National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP), drafted a list they intend to deliver to President Laura Chinchilla.

The document includes a request for better salaries and an increase in rest hours between shifts. It also calls for the approval of Law No. 17,695, which would allow police officers to retire at 57, instead of 60 like other public workers.

“We are here because we want better salaries. You can’t live on ₡250,000 [$500] a month. … Our shifts are 12 hours, but sometimes they extend up to 16 hours, and we don’t get paid for those extra hours,” said officer José Suárez, a member of the National Police precint at Hatillo, south of the capital.

Citizen Action Party lawmaker Carmen Granados said the bill to improve working conditions for cops is at stalemate because Public Security Ministry Mario Zamora asked lawmakers to stop discussion and wait for a new draft bill the executive branch is preparing. “That happened two years ago and we’re still waiting for this new text,” Granados said.

A small group of protesters also visited the Casa Presidencial to deliver demands to Chinchilla. They also plan on sending them to the Finance Ministry.

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