San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Government proposes ban on strikes by workers in essential public services sector

Costa Rica’s executive branch sent a proposal to the Legislative Assembly to reform the country’s Labor Law in order to ban strikes of employees in institutions that offer essential services such as health, security, water supply or electricity.

The request aims to regulate protests by public institution workers “whose interruption of work could affect living conditions of the population, or cause significant damage to the country’s economy,” Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides said.

The reform would only allow strikes by administrative employees if they were willing to work on a reduced schedule on each day of the protest.

The amendment was drafted after several negotiations with union leaders and is already under review by a Legislative Assembly commission.

However, the secretary of the Association of Public and Private Employees, Walter Quesada, said Wednesday that strikes are a human right and therefore should not be prohibited.

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