Teachers union calls off negotiations on pay hike

The union representing teachers is breaking off negotiations with the central government even though another session was scheduled for today.

The action injects uncertainty into the nation’s labor scene and may mean a general strike in April.

Casa Presidencial quickly issued a statement regretting the action by the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza. It called on Beatriz Ferreto, the president of the teachers union, and other leaders to reconsider their position.

The teacher’s union has about 24,000 members. The union has been the spearpoint of the efforts by public employees to receive more than an across-the-board 5,000-colons pay raise for the first half of the year. The amount is about $10 a month. Joining with the union is the Asociación Nacional de Educadores, another union.

Central government officials have met twice with union representatives, and each time they seemed to think that they had a deal. Last March 5 union leaders and the government appeared to have reached an accord to head off a strike, but the ranks and file rejected it.

Monday’s session was to consider revisions. The Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza said that, instead, its representatives would deliver a document rejecting the proposal and terminating negotiations.

Although the year is in its third month, usually a salary agreement will be retroactive to Jan. 1. But new negotiations will seek to set a pay raise for the second half of the year starting July 1.

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