Casa Presidencial working to prevent dock strike

Casa Presidencial is working hard to prevent a walkout at the Limón docks.

Dock worker union leaders were at Casa Presidencial Monday but they were told that nothing is certain. The proposed $1 billion container handling concession still has to pass muster with the Secretaria Técnica Nacional Ambiental, which already had a long list of what it considers deficiencies.

In addition, union leaders were counseled to wait to read the full decision by the Sala Primera that seemed to remove another obstacle for the Dutch firm that has been designated to build the facility.

Only a summary was released by the Poder Judicial.

The  Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrollo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica has been fighting aggressively against the project even

though most officials and business leaders think the new facility will be an important step forward for Costa Rica.

Despite the conciliatory words from Casa Presidencial, union leaders still are contemplating a strike. That wold be a disaster for the banana and pineapple growers as will as other exporters.

Government officials said they told the union leaders that APM Terminals, the concession holder, has agreed to pay additional money to finance social development in the province of Limón. The union leaders were accompanied by friendly lawmakers. Frente Amplio, one political party, opposes concessions on philosophical grounds. Plus some do not like the fact that foreigners would be running the operation.

Many union members thought that President Luis Guillermo Solís would pull the plug on the concession project. They would prefer that more government money be poured into the existing docks to make them more efficient. Solís certainly is receiving pressure from the business sector.

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