Public employees are expected to take to the streets today in force, but the central government has warned that teachers, at least, will not be paid if they take off the day to march.
The Ministerio de Educación Pública said that the decision to strike violated the rights of children. A statement urged parents to send their youngsters to school today. The ministry appealed to the ethics and professionalism of teachers.
The ministry’s department of human resources has asked school directors to keep an accurate list of who comes to work today and who does not.
The principal education unions are the Asociación Nacional de Educadores and the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza.
The ministry said that officials had held 31 meetings with teacher union representatives, but blamed the unions for breaking off negotiations.
Meanwhile, the union that represents Caja employees issued a blistering statement that said nothing had changed under the Luis Guillermo Solís administration. It listed waiting lists containing thousands of patients.
The union is the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social.
The union for years has been issuing critical statements about conditions in the national health system.
The union said Thursday that despite claims to the contrary, the waiting lists are growing. It said that just in the Hospital de Alajuela some 11,000 patients are waiting for a gastroscopy and 5,000 are awaiting a colonoscopy.
At Hospital México some 5,000 persons are awaiting the results of biopsies due to the lack of equipment and professionals, it added.
The union also voiced unhappiness with increases in the months of service needed for a pension and the size of the pension.
The central government vows that services will be maintained despite the strike, but the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio already postponed a press conference that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. today to discuss credit cards.
The protest today is being organized by the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense, which claims to represent from 50 to 80 other unions.
The organization said that between 8 and 10 a.m. today strikers will gather at either Parque Central on Avenida Segunda or at the Fuente de Hispanidad in front of Mall San Pedro. Either gathering will block traffic on Avenida Central.
The route of the march will be to Casa Presidencial in Zapote.