State petroleum firm’s union threatens strike over pay

The union of workers at the nation’s petroleum monopoly are threatening a strike if a Sala IV strips them of extra pay. The Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros Químicos y Afines issued the statement Thursday.

That was a day after the Contraloria General de la República said it had filed a constitutional court action against two aspects of the pay the monopoly gives its workers.

One item the union seeks to defend is a 24-year limit to what employees are paid when they leave the company, perhaps to retire. That means the workers get two years pay, one month for each year of service. Most government workers get far less than that.

The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. is the government agency that imports petroleum and gasoline. Since it can pass on its expenses to the motoring public, it has no reason to be frugal.

The employees also benefit from a series of extra pays that can be hundreds of dollars a year.

The statement by Gilbert Brown, the general secretary of the union, said that employees were prepared to go into the streets to defend their salaries. It also said that the government should not seek to solve the fiscal crisis on the backs of the workers.

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