A march by unions today begins earlier than normal at 12 points in the Central Valley. The march and general strike also is being characterized as a continuing effort.
This is the march by the highly ideological Colectivo Sindical Latinoamericanista Patria Justa that opposed the container port concession in Limón, salary readjustments by the government and actions on utility rates by the national regulating agency, among other issues.
Unlike the Oct. 16 protest march by the Bloque Unitario Social Sindical Costarricense Patria Justa is in strong opposition to private enterprise, and it sees a conspiracy by the private sector and the media to stifle the working class.
Patria Justa is a version of the existing association of public unions that also is led by Albino Vargas Barrantes, who is secretary general of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados.
Representatives met with central government officials Thursday without success.
Vargas said Friday he expects a meeting today with President Luis Gullermo Solís at the end of the march, which is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m.
Solís said Sunday that the government would not let critical services be interrupted, but Vargas has listed customs workers at the various seaports and border crossings as participants along with dock workers at Caldera and Limón and even workers at the Ministerio de Hacienda and police forces.
He said at a press conference that municipal workers also were joining the march.
He also promised peaceful marches with the use of passive resistance rather than aggression.
Patria Justa has a vision of Costa Rica where
most enterprises are owned and operated by the state for the benefit of the workers. The so-called conspiracy are news reports of the high salaries received by some public employees. The salaries are far higher than workers in private enterprise, and this has dominated the newspaper and television reports for weeks.
The high salaries are a result of government negotiators not having an incentive for years to hold the line. Solís has encouraged reviews of these salary and benefit agreements as part of his plan to reduce the budget deficit.
However, union leaders appear to see him as weak. He again offered dialogue Sunday night.
Solís said the strike seeks to justify the unjustifiable, an indefinite strike. As with other protests, marchers will attempt to cause as many problems with the public as possible. Tourists will have trouble today reaching Juan Santamaria airport in the morning as strikers crowd the highways. One unit of strikers is walking from Cartago, and highways there are expected to be affected.
Many schools most certainly will be on a caretaker schedule. Teachers will be in the march.