Public employee unions take to the streets to show their displeasure

In the middle of Avenida Segunda and Calle Central, the first wave of marchers stopped. The microphone was passed off between an array of public workers to voice their displeasures with the state. The municipality worker who was sweeping Parque Central took the microphone before the meat packer who was making his morning round of deliveries.

Public employees from the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Acueductos y Alcantarillados started off Tuesday’s strikes by calling San Jose’s workers to join them on the street. Together they decried a government mandated .43 percent raise in base salaries while pointing out that simultaneously some of the population is without water, light, and proper food.

Around noon public workers marched through Avenida Segunda from Sabana to the front of the Ministerio de Hacienda. A variety of workers groups joined the demonstration, including those from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Banco Popular and the Sindicato Trabajadores Petroleros químicos y Afines.

The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados coordinated the strike to show that the nation’s workers believe they should be awarded more compensation for their jobs.

Early on the crowd chanted and clapped while repeating, Doña Laura ya se va. In celebrating the eventual departure of President Chinchilla, they also put on notice the two candidates vying to succeed her that workers and their families demand to share an even playing field with the nation’s elites.

Nurses and employees from state-run hospitals also took to the streets. Both Calderón Guardia and Hospital Nacional de Niños each lost 28 members of their staff to join the strikes. Directors from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that these absences did not cause any serious effects on normal operations.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that 56 percent of its electrical agencies were closed mainly in Alajuela, Turrialba, the central pacific and the south Pacific.

The telecommunications section of the state company had about 70 percent of its office staff and technicians absent, it added.

Union officials said that there were as many as 5,000 persons in the protest in San José.

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