Two unions consider protest over changes in electrical rates

Left-wing labor unions are considering a marching protest against changes in electrical rates, signaling that consumer spending may become a major political campaign issue.

They are seeking to confront the large business consumers and obtain a rebate for consumers. They oppose a petition presented to the national rate fixing agency.

The petition is from the  Asociación Costarricense de Grandes Consumidores de Energía.

The rate fixing agency is the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos which establishes a structure based on the estimated cost of producing electrical power. However, consumers pay a lower rate than commercial enterprises.

The petition by the group of big commercial users seeks to have the Autoridad charge households more.

A statement by the public employees union on its Web site said that the working class is being impoverished and that Costa Rica has the biggest financial gaps between various levels of society.

The public employee union also wants the minimum wages raised.

They called upon presidential candidates to address these issues, specifically Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberción Nacional, José María Villalta Florez-Estrada of Frente Amplio and Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera of Partido Acción Ciudadana.

The unions said that the big commercial electrical users represent the 1 percent of the richest people in Costa Rica and they want to batter once again the financial stability of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad as well as the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz.

These are some of the same organizations who protest the neoliberal economic policies and fought against the free trade treaty with the United States.

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