Teachers and others plan march and strike Thursday

Teachers will be joined by other public employees Thursday as a day of protest against what they believe are low salaries and the proposed tax package. The teachers will assemble at Parque Central at 9 a.m. for a march on the Asamblea Legislativa.

Among other claims, the teachers say that the tax plan will levy a 16 percent tax on aguinaldos, the hefty Christmas bonus. They also said that rents of most homes will be taxed and that the same assessment will be levied on activities of their various credit unions.

The tax plan proposes a 14 percent value-added tax that will cover most food items, private education, private medical services and even hair styling. “The purpose, however, is only to extract more money from the pockets of those who depend on a salary,”
said a handout by the Asociación de Profesores de Secunda Ensenanza.

The teacher group claims the country’s financial crises comes from cutting the taxes that big national and foreign companies pay.

The teacher’s group is affiliated with the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados. The secretary general of the public employees group, Albino Vargas Barrantes, calls the protest Thursday Democracia de la Calle or street democracy. He said on his Web site that this is a legitimate way to call attention to the present state of the nation.

Because the teachers are marching, public schools will be canceling classes Thursday. Other public employees who join the event will be absent from their jobs. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and the various public utilities are expected to be on reduced staffs.

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