General strike is called a success

Some 700,000 children did not have classes Tuesday, and more than 600 operations were postponed at public hospitals because teachers and health workers staged a general strike.

Thousands of marchers filled Avenida Secunda in the morning.

“We felt the strike was a total success,” said Martín Rodríguez.  “However we were very disappointed in the way our documents  were received by the legislators. They had an attitude.” He is the spokesman for the health workers in the  Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

“The objective of the march was to show our strength and that our voices can be heard. We do this because there is no real dialogue with the government. Whenever they call us to talk, they start by saying the bills we are against, will simply be approved.”

The unions object to bills that would change salaries and also one that would create a cooperative education system whereby students would work in their chosen field outside the classroom.

Rodríguez said there would be no march today in San José but that  the strike will continue all around the country in hospitals, clinics and laboratories that belong to the Caja.

Also participating were the teachers in the Asociación Nacional de Educadores and the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense.

Government officials say that the strike was unnecessary.

The health employees union said that participation in the strike ranged from 75 to 80 percent at public hospitals around the country. There also were some marches in provincial capitals.

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