Caja union workers threaten strike over cut in benefit

The union that represents workers in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is threatening a strike if the government goes ahead with plans to cut costs.

The union is the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social. A general strike would paralyze the nation’s public health care, although in the past, the union maintains essential services.

No firm date has been set, but union members will meet Friday at the time government officials are meeting with union officials Friday.

The government wants to reduce in stages the final payoff awarded employees, usually upon their retirement. Currently employees with long service can get up to 20 months pay when they leave. The government eventually wants to cut this to eight months pay.

Union officials say that most of the members are honest, hard-working individuals who are not responsible for the grim situation in which the Caja now finds itself. The union blames bad administration and political corruption.

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