Union groups in Costa Rica today met 29 days of a strike in rejection of a tax reform with a demonstration in front of the buildings of the Judiciary, where they demand the unconstitutionality of the initiative.
The demonstration, which had little competition, took place in the Plaza de la Justicia and was characterized by slogans against the tax reform and the request for the magistrates to declare it unconstitutional.
Last Friday the fiscal plan was approved in first debate by the Congress, reason why the unions keep the hope that the Constitutional Chamber declares it unconstitutional.
The majority of the protesters today carried flags of the unions of the education sector, which are the ones that support the movement that began last September 10th.
The general secretary of the National Association of Public Employees (ANEP), Albino Vargas, told Efe that the strike "goes on and on" and that it is not just a trade union movement but "of broad agricultural sectors, housewives and unemployed".
"We are here in the outskirts of the Judicial Power because the struggle is transferred to the Constitutional Chamber." Many consider that the processing of the fiscal combo was plagued by procedural irregularities and arbitrariness and that the fund also has serious problems of unconstitutionality, "Vargas said. .
On the twenty-ninth day of the strike, the unions have carried out activities in various meetings in the country, but the movement has been weakened by the fact that the main unions in the health sector reached an agreement on Saturday with the government and today went back to work.
However, union leaders say the movement remains "very strong".
The Congress approved the reform last Friday, with 35 votes in favor and 22 against, in the first of two necessary votes.
The project will be reviewed by various institutions, including the Constitutional Chamber, whose resolution will depend on whether the deputies can give the initiative a second debate.
According to the Government, the reform seeks to raise fresh resources equivalent to about 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to stabilize finances and reduce the projected deficit to 7.1 percent of GDP by 2018.
The plan converts the sales tax of 13 percent into one of value added (VAT) of the same rate but that will tax the services and, in a differentiated way, some products that were previously exempt.
It also includes changes in income tax, capital income, global income and measures to reduce public spending, such as the reduction of salary bonuses.