Hundreds of teachers, bankers, and medical workers marched to the gates of Casa Presidencial Thursday to voice their complaints. The workers’ unions gathered at the Fuente de Hispanidad in San Pedro before they walked south down the highway towards Laura Chinchilla’s offices in Zapote.
United through grievances with government salaries and diminished work opportunities, the collective unions waved their respective flags and chanted for a desired change.
Tobias Monge Mata, a schoolteacher in Coronado, said he was protesting because of his concern for increasing privatization in government services. He also expressed concern for financial-based coverups and corruptions happening within the private sector.
“The amount of government salaries is a worry, too,” Monge said. “Meanwhile they are cutting off specialty teachers in subjects like music, art, and physical education.”
Another teacher, Marianela Román Solano with the well-represented Asociación Nacional de Educadores said she worried about the nation’s educational future. As school staff are given very little support in underfunded classrooms, she said she was joining the strike to represent all her fellow hardworking teachers.
“In this country with all the education issues that exist, we have the right for decent salaries,” she said. “This is why we’re here. We demand the government listen to the workers’ conditions.”
Rigoberto Mora Rodriguez, who works at Banco de Costa Rica, said the working class has unfairly shouldered blame for the economic missteps of the elite.
“The politicians and rulers tell the workers that we’re responsible for the crisis,” he said. “Those responsible for this crisis are the people who have a lot of money and don’t want to pay their taxes or workers’ salaries.”
Other represented unions included Sindicato de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de la Educación de Costarricense, Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñaza, and the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social.
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff