Unions fill the city’s streets with their protests

Thousands of union members, mainly teachers and health workers, filled the streets of San José Thursday.

Anyone who missed the march need not worry. Union leaders said they would be back in October.

The protest is designed to defend the employees of public salaries, which are being scrutinized by lawmakers. The marchers are also upset by a tiny 0.08 percent pay raise approved by the central government.

And then there are issues of legislation, including a failed measure that would give public employees the right to strike.

In a separate protest Thursday, porteadores, sometimes called pirate taxi drivers, continued their display of unhappiness over march082115the government reduction in the number of permits that would make them legal.

A stern warning from the government is being credited for the unlicensed taxi drivers leaving their vehicles elsewhere. Instead, they stood on the streets dressed in white shirts, along with family members. Traffic police promised to impound any vehicle that blocked traffic. Blockades are the usual method of protest by this group.

The protest march was by the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense, an organization that contains some 50 unions, including the teachers in the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza and health workers in the Unión de Trabajadores de la Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.

Public health services  all over the country were heavily affected by the absence of workers Thursday.

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