Public employee reps stalk out of salary negotiations

Negotiators for public employees, faced with a new salary formula from the government asked for a recess and then walked out, the minister of Trabajo said Monday.

The union negotiators want a 3.65 percent increase, about what the private sector’s minimum salaries were increased Jan. 1.

The minister, Olman Segura Bonilla, said that the government has to consider the budget deficit and the difficult financial situation of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

Segura also was critical of the attitude of the employee negotiators when they left the room. He said they were shouting and immediately called reporters to say they were ending the negotiation.

The public employee unions are prone to marches and strikes. They also are the first place the government looks to save money. The annual budget deficit is between 42 and 51 percent of the expenses anticipated by the central government, and public officials are under heavy pressure to save money.

Segura said that one goal of negotiations was to increase the salaries of those who are earning the least.

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