New salary accord ends threat of general strike for country

Negotiators for the central government and employee unions finally reached another accord at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The accord protects those workers who have extra salary incentives and provides for raises during the second half of the year. The second-half raises would be paid by October, according to the agreement.

Leaders of all the unions subscribed to the accord, according to the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados even though a teachers union said it was breaking off negotiations in advance of an April strike.

The dispute stemmed from the unilateral decree by President Laura Chinchilla that each public employee would receive a 5,000-colon raise, about $10. That was regardless of salary or the extras. She did this when negotiations broke down.

The second half raise will be based, in part, on the percentage of a salary hike that employees did not get in the first six months, and it will not be retroactive until Jan. 1, said the union group.

Neither the government nor the unions wanted a strike because the public relations fallout would be strongly negative. Plus damage would be done to the economy. Dock workers in Moín export most of the country’s agricultural products.

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