Unions announce massive protest march for Thursday

Thursday will see another protest by unions whose members are unhappy with the tiny raise proposed for public employees by the government.

The protest will be by the 50 unions that make up the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense. Primary and secondary school teachers will be there, and schools will run with a skeleton crew, if at all.

The unhappiness transcends the 0.08 percent raise proposed by the government. There is a feeling of dread among public employees because they read the newspapers and know about the national deficit and the financial box that President Luis Guillermo Solís seems to be in.

Some of the unions also have issued statements against a proposed value-added tax because they believe such a levy is regressive and will hit the middle and lower income groups hardest.

The government took this into consideration,  and the initial proposal from the Ministerio de Hacienda says that the families that make up the lowest 40 percent of income will receive rebates. But they will be two years in coming, and there is no guarantee that the government system will be efficient.

The Asociación Nacional de Educadores said it is marching to seek a more dignified status for educations and to defend public education.

Other marchers will be from the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza and the Unión de Trabajadores de la Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. Those with medical appointments for Thursday should confirm them that day because many sections of public hospitals might be closed down.

The route is yet to be announced, but most certainly marchers will visit the legislature and perhaps even Casa Presidencial in Zapote.

This means traffic will be snarled. There might also be mirror protests in other regions.

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