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.