Worker’s holiday Thursday will bring out union backers

Thursday is International Labor Day, which is celebrated here in Costa Rica. The day is a legal holiday, and among other facilities, the embassies will be closed.

For some, the holiday represents a chance for another four-day holiday. Friday is nominally a workday, but plenty of workers apply vacation time to achieve a long weekend.

For those who stay in the metro area, the big attraction is the worker’s parade. Everyone with a complaint is invited to participate.

The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados is calling for a big turnout from members of its associated unions. The march begins in the vicinity of Calle 20 and ends at the legislature. The participants are not rowdy, and the parade is a great tourism attraction.

The association is calling for a new salary scale and a change in the tax structure so that those who have more, pay more. The association also wants a declaration of emergency to fight tax evasion, it said. Also sought is an end to wait lists at the nation’s health provider, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The association also wants to keep utilities, such as water, electricity and sewers in public ownership. There is a movement for private power generation.

A good bet is that dock workers from Limón will be in town to protest the proposed construction of the APM Terminals container handling facility. This is a concession, and the company’s facility will be faster and much more efficient than the public docks in Limón and Moín. The workers see this as a threat.

Proponents and opponents of widening Ruta 32 from Río Frio to Limón also are expected to show up. Many in Limón want the highway project to begin. Others oppose accepted a $435 million deal with China to do it.

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