Public employee union awaits salary negotiations

Union representatives are laying the groundwork for their negotiations for salary increases. A salary adjustment is expected for the second half of the year in minimum wages.

The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados said on its Web site that increased costs require salary increase.

The organization noted that fuel, electricity, telephones and water have gone up along with bus fares. It also noted that President Laura Chinchilla Miranda has levied a 13 percent tax on more food products.

The union organization said that Costa Rica has a divide between the rich and the poor and the best way to surmount this is with a salary policy that is just and distributes the benefits of economic growth.

The eventual increase will be set by the Consejo Nacional de Salarios. The union group did not give a figure that it would seek at negotiations, but it did note that the salary increase is supposed to go into effect July 1. Sometimes an increase is not determined until after the day specified for the increase, so employers have to make retroactive payments.

Public employee negotiators were stung during talks over the salary increase for the first half of this year. There was a deadlock, and Ms. Chinchilla stepped in and awarded everyone a 5,000-colon raise. That’s about $10. Negotiators and many public employees were furious and took to the streets in vain. They will be primed for a larger increase next month.

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