Labor representatives seek a 6 percent hike in minimum wages

Labor representatives are seeking what amounts to a 6 percent salary increase when minimum salaries are established by July 1.

They come to the table at a time when employers report that they are not ready to make any new hiring for the next few months. And they come at a time of uncertainly when a proposal to put a stiff tax on casinos and gambling call centers might be an undetermined number of Costa Ricans on the street.

The labor representatives, including members of the Unión Nacional de Trabajadores de Obras Públicas y Transportes come armed with data that shows inflation may be 3.5 percent in the first half of the year. They also are trying to make up
for a less than 4 percent raise that was established for the six months beginning Jan. 1.

The Consejo Nacional de Salarios will make the final determination. Employees have yet to be heard from, but the inflation figures based on data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos generally carry considerable weight. The institute said that inflation in May was .99 of a percent. Much of the increase was due to transportation costs.

Employers also are leery that the Asamblea Legislativa, now controlled by the party of President Laura Chinchilla, will resurrect the massive tax plan that was shelved after the Sala IV questioned the way it received first approval. The court did not rule on the content of the tax plan that calls for a value added tax with expanded coverage to raise $500 million from the citizenry each year.

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