Union rejects agreement to end Limón dock strike

Casa Presidencial said today, Friday, that the dockworkers union had rejected a proposed settlement of its strike and that officials would seek to declare the walkout illegal.

Earlier story below.

Limón dockworker union chiefs were presenting a proposed settlement to their members Thursday night.

If the rank-and-file accepts the deal, the nine-day strike will be ended. Officials said that the results of the union decision would be made known this morning. Casa Presidencial did not outline the agreement.

The deal is believed to be close to what the central government offered in the first place. The executive branch offered a basket of goodies Monday that totaled 406 billion colons, about $844 million. The plan called for improving the public docks at Moín and infrastructure work in the central canton of Limón.

The deal did not include the prime union demand that a concession holders of a new facility share the work of handling the shipping containers. The union leaders were given 48 hours to consider the office.

Negotiations Thursday went on for nearly all day at Casa Presidencial. The government team  included  Melvin Jiménez, the minister of the Presidencia;  Víctor Morales, minister of Trabajo, and  Ann Mc Kinley, the president of the Limón port agency. The union was represented by  José Luis Castillo and María Miranda.

The port agency is the  Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica. known as JAPADEVA. The strikers are members of the  Sindicato de Trabajadores de JAPDEVA.

Dock workers are afraid of losing their jobs when a new $1 billion container handling facility is constructed. They gave fought aggressively against the project even though the proposal by a Dutch firm seems to have a lot of support among residents there and those in the business community. There are estimated that the new terminal will need about 20 percent of the employees now working on the public docks.

President Luis Guillermo Solís sent in the Fuerza Pública and keep the docks operating just hours after strikers stopped work Oct. 23. The docks continued to operate with temporary workers, and the union appeared to be at a disadvantage.

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