ICE employees to strike on Monday

April 23, 2013

Union leaders from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) on Tuesday announced they will go on strike next Monday, suspending all customer service for that day.

Fabio Chaves, coordinator of the Employee Internal Front Union said the protest is to draw attention to a phone number portability process that ICE must abide by.

Portability allows customers to move from one operator to another without changing their phone number. Chaves said that “while in most countries the [portability] process happens 10 years after the market is opened, in Costa Rica it will be allowed just a year and a half later.”

Last week, ICE refused to sign a contract with the company responsible for providing the portability system. ICE union leaders said the decision by the Telecommunications Superintendency “only aims to favor multinational corporations.”

He added that “while in other countries the user must pay for the portability when switching from one operator to another, in Costa Rica it will be free. But since there is a cost for conducting this process, customers will end up paying for it with higher rates.”

Chaves said union members also will protest against an electricity bill currently being discussed in the Legislative Assembly, and against political appointments in top posts at ICE. The “General Electricity Bill” would increase private firms’ participation in the generation of electricity.

He added that workers could strike indefinitely during the month of May if Monday’s protest fails to generate results.

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