Public employee union voices concern on presidential directive

The nation’s public employee union says it thinks the central government is laying the groundwork for large layoffs.

The union, the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, cites a decree issued by President Laura Chinchilla Miranda in November. The presidential decree appears to create a central office for setting employment, salary and incentive guidelines for public employees.

Like many directives, this one never was publicized and discussed. It came into force after being printed in the La Gaceta official newspaper.

The employees association said it feared standardization and
the imposition of a uniform salary for government workers. This has been a controversial issue in the past because each ministry appears to have it own salary scale. A uniform scale probably would be lower than what now exists in some ministries.

The decree is so general that the motives behind it are hard to determine. However, the employees union fears that the central government is creating the conditions for massive layoffs. Fernando Herrero Acosta, the finance minister, already has threatened staff reductions if the administration’s tax proposal is not passed.

The decree, however, does speak of inequalities in public sector jobs and the need for classifications and challenges that focus on competence, evaluation, merit and productivity.

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