January 17, 2021

The president of Costa Rica sanctions law to prevent abuses in public strikes

The president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, sanctioned on Monday a law that seeks to regulate abuses in public sector strikes and thus provide legal certainty to the country.

In an official act held at the Presidential House, Alvarado signed the Law to provide legal certainty about strikes and their procedures (No. 9808), which allows workers to demonstrate in freedom without affecting the rights of other citizens.

“This law comes to solve legal certainty for all people both for those who manifest themselves as institutions and citizens, and now there are clearer rules and procedures, and that is appreciated by the country,” said the president of Costa Rica .

The law declares illegal strikes in essential public services whose suspension, discontinuity or paralysis can cause significant damage to the rights to life, health and public safety. In addition, it suspends the payment of the salaries of workers who participate in these movements.

The Minister of Labor, Geannina Dinarte, said that while the strike is a right recognized in the Labor Code conceived for every working person, it was a necessity to establish a balance of that right.

“The law has very important characteristics such as the recognition that the right to strike is necessary and that strikes throughout life have been a relevant factor in claiming important citizenship rights, it has been an important means to achieve great achievements. , but it is also true that we are facing the need to establish a balance between the right to strike and the rights and freedoms of citizenship, “said Dinarte.

Congress approved last week with 35 deputies in favor and 13 against, out of a total of 57, the bill. Lawmakers indicated that the initiative resolves existing gaps in current legislation regarding the regulation of strikes, as it has been taken abusively by some union leaders.

The new legislation regulates the essential services where the strike will be prohibited, such as outpatient consultation, medical examinations, laboratory tests, pharmacy, surgeries, public police, air and migratory controllers, rail transport, loading and unloading at docks, energy sources, among others.

The education sector is part of these services and it is established that during the strike the necessary personnel must be maintained to provide work. In the latter case, the strike may not exceed 21 consecutive calendar days or 10 discontinuous calendar days.

The project was modified after the Constitutional Chamber found friction with the Political Constitution in several of its provisions, so it was necessary to exclude from the essential services several activities among which are those provided by the Judiciary.

The bill, promoted by several parties, and supported by the Government, came about after a three-month union strike against a tax reform, which was subsequently passed, that established new taxes and cuts to the end of 2018. salary pluses in the public sector.

In addition, during 2019 there have also been strikes against the implementation of the tax reform and particularly two in the health sector that generated much social and political discontent.

The trade union groups have stated that this law implies a “gag for the people”, while pointing out that they will never renounce the right to strike whether prohibited or limited.

On the other hand, businessmen have applauded the approval of the new strike legislation, as they ensure that these movements harm the country’s economy and competitiveness, as well as the health and education of the population.


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