Teachers give government officials a two-day deadline to fix payroll

Teachers are giving the government two days to solve the salary issue, per a proposal their unions turned into the ministers of Educación and Trabajo at a Tuesday meeting. The document states that within 48 hours the government must have a backup plan in place to pay teachers their full salaries.

Most of the other demands listed remain consistent from the proposal that was supposed to be turned in last Friday. These call for full salary compensations and a complete investigation of the payroll software Integra2.

Costa Rica’s chief of staff, Melvin Jiménez, said Tuesday before the meeting that the government hoped to have a deal made with teachers by the afternoon. Instead, they will enter another day of strikes.

Monday marked the second payday of the month and reports came out late that night that thousands of teachers were still receiving errors from Integra2, even though that day the education ministry guaranteed it would pay 36 million colons to more than 77,000 workers.

Jiménez said the root of the technical problems are still a mystery and that the digital payment software is subject to the same errors of all computer programs.

“This system has problems like any computer system could in any public sector or in any place in the world,” he said.

A payroll mechanism that the government paid $1.2 million marks an expensive malfunction. When pressed about this economic hiccup, Jiménez said officials are working on fully solving the problem so that a disaster won’t be repeated in the future. He added that authorities are not just worried about the technical aspects but

Melvin Jiménez and Ana Helena Chacón field questions.

Melvin Jiménez and Ana Helena Chacón field questions.

also believe there are informational problems with the pay system.

“In order to begin the correction process we need to fully understand the problem,” he said. “Unfortunately we cannot be so quick with this decision. We need to find out a long-term solution and also find who is responsible for this defect.”

Minister of Educación Sonia Marta Mora Escalante was scheduled to meet with the press alongside Jiménez, but instead had to attend the meeting with teacher union representatives. President Luis Guillermo Solís was also absent Tuesday at the informational session following the meeting of his cabinet.

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