Teachers’ strike reaches 9th day

May 15, 2014
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Hundreds of public educators on Thursday blocked the main access roads to the southeastern San José district of Zapote, where Casa Presidencial is located, in the second week of a nationwide strike over back pay.

Thousands of elementary and high school teachers have not received their full salaries from the government, some since February. The Education Ministry has blamed the backlog on problems with a new computer system to process payment information.

Teachers’ unions on Wednesday met with Education Minister Sonia Martha Mora, but talks were suspended the next day after the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

Mora said the government would make three payments on May 19, 23 and 28, but union leaders rejected the proposal. On Thursday evening, Mora will appear before the Legislative Assembly to brief lawmakers about the situation.

“The education sector is maintaing the strike to demand full back pay for thousands of educators. That is the only condition we will accept in order to end our protest. We reiterate our call for parents not to send their children to school until we declare an end to the strike,” the Costa Rican Education Union (SEC) said in a statement.

On Thursday, teachers blocked the Garantías Sociales roundabout  at 9 a.m., and long lines of vehicles stretched from the center of Zapote to Casa Presidencial and several surrounding blocks.

National Association of Educators (ANDE) President Gilberto Cascante said protests would continue until all teachers are paid. He added that several other protests are taking place throughout the country.

Today’s protests mark the ninth day of the nationwide strike, which on Friday will move to the capital’s Central Park, where teachers will gather at 9 a.m. to march along San José’s Second Avenue.

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