Turnout is minimal for union march against 2015 budget cuts

A march by union members against budget cuts Monday was a bit of a bust with an estimated gathering of from 150 to 200 persons.

Still the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, backed by a handful of other unions, presented grievances to the  Asamblea Legislativa.

One of the problems of the protesters was the lack of specifics in what the budget cuts will do. The legislative budget committee chopped 3.8 percent from the executive branch’s 2015 budget. But the cuts are fairly abstract.

The public employees union suggests that salaries will be cut, but that is not part of the legislative action. In fact, nothing is certain because the full legislature has yet to act.

Even when it does, the cuts would be amounts of money in certain categories. Then it would be up to the executive branch to allocate the cuts.

Still the pubic employees union said the cuts were irresponsible and lacked reflection and objective analysis over the direct impacts.

The statement also came very close to saying that the nation’s debt should be ignored in favor of salaries and governmental operations. The deficit is due to debt, the statement said, noting the the amount due in 2015 is 1.7 trillion colons in debt service. That is about $3.1 billion. The union statement also asked who ran up this debt in the first place.

The unions also blamed tax evasion and predicted failures of private firms and social unrest. The statement continued to push for what was called transforming the tax structure. That basically means more taxes on corporations and high earners.

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