San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public sector

Agreement reached on wage increase for public employees

Starting next month, public employees in Costa Rica will receive a salary increase ranging from 1.08 to 1.60 percent depending on profession.

The percentages were set at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday after six hours of negotiations between government representatives and union leaders.

The unions – Rerum Novarum, Central Juanito Mora, the National Confederation of Workers, the Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers and the Costa Rican Workers Movement –accepted the government’s proposal and signed an agreement.

However, leaders of the National Association of Educators (ANDE), the High School Teachers’ Association and Costa Rica’s Social Security System Workers Union left the negotiations earlier in the afternoon, citing a disagreement with the proposed figures. Those groups had requested an increase of at least 2.3 percent.

The hike mostly will benefit 250,000 unskilled employees earning minimum wages, who will receive a 1.6 percent increase.

Negotiators agreed on 0.94 percent of the base salary for professional workers plus 0.14 that was pending from negotiations during the previous quarter.

Union leaders who rejected the approved raises publicly called the government’s figure “vulgar.”

“It is extremely shameful to hold negotiations under these terms with a government that had always voiced an intention of making social change,” said a visibly upset ANDE President Gilberto Cascante, who added that the increase “will not have any effect on educators’ pockets.”

He also promised to explore the option of filing an international complaint with the International Labour Organization.

“We aren’t ruling out protests, if needed,” Cascante said.

Contact L. Arias at

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Mark Kahle

A little less than 1 in every 4 Costa Ricans works for the government. About 1 in every 5 Costa Ricans are considered to be below the poverty line.

This leaves about 3 Costa Ricans to pay the salary of each government employee and that government employee earns more than the average person that pays them.

Add to that the oppressive import duties on household items (20-45%) and transportation (40%+) and you continue to produce more and more poor people while extending social benefits to them causing taxes to rise yet again… you guessed it…which produces even more poor people.

You must remember… public sector employees are a debt… they produce no income for the nation. Every dime they have or that they spend was taken from the pockets of private industry and employees. The claim is that they do help by pushing the economy with their spending… Trust me, the private sector could and would spend that money without the help of an ever burgeoning and unaccountable public sector employee, union member or elected official. It is time that all public sector jobs were brought into line with those in the private sector…they are certainly not worth the money, the perks or the protections that are simply handed to them.

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Where is the Costa Rican goverment going to get the dam money? Thats right they will tax the private sector more.

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