Education sector strike once again ruled illegal

November 29, 2018

The Labor Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of San José has once again declared illegal the strike against fiscal reform that was promoted by the National Association of Educators, the Union of Costa Rican Educators and the Association of Teachers of Secondary Education. The court reasoned the strikes have not being peaceful and have affected essential services, such as food.

According to Judge Victor Orozco, who signed the decision, “since it is not a peaceful movement — because it affects essential services such as the feeding of students who depend on these services — and for transgressing the principles of reasonableness and proportionality, it is that this judge concludes that it must be declared illegal.”

The resolution reads that, “[…] approximately 98,966 students have not received meal service. It is common knowledge that the meal service provided in schools is often the only food for some students around the country, especially in rural areas with high levels of poverty who are in conditions of vulnerability and social risk.”

It also notes that since Sept. 10, the date the strikes began, the voice of the unions was recognized and that indefinite prolongation of the strike would be an abusive exercise of the right to strike.

Regarding violence, the ruling indicates that “it is determined that the demonstration in some sectors was not peaceful, and since there were union workers who were participating in the events who were not peaceful, this judge considers that the requirement of peaceful suspension of work was not fulfilled.”

The judgment allows an appeal, which must be filed before the Court within three days.

On Oct. 9, the judge of Labor of the Second Judicial Circuit of San José, Francisco Quesada, had declared the strike illegal based on the fact that it was a violent movement because teachers had participated in different blockades.

However, on Nov. 19, the Labor Court annulled the declaration and returned the case to the Court because it considered that it was necessary to analyze the evidence used to judge the case.

Union dissatisfaction

For its part, the Association of Teachers of Secondary Education (APSE) has described as “deplorable” the ruling of the Labor Court that declared illegal the strike of the education sector in the first instance.

“The APSE deplores this judicial nonsense, against which we will interpose within the term of law the corresponding appeal in order to ensure prompt and fulfilled justice as established by the Constitution and international conventions of the International Labor Organization,” a union representative said.

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This story originally published by Semanario Universidad and translated with permission by The Tico Times. Read the original report here.

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