Judicial workers say they will march over possible pension cuts

Judicial employees will be marching Thursday with the blessings of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

Unions representing judicial workers are planing the protest march to register their opposition to a bill in the legislature that they believe will reduce their pensions.

In an unusual development, most of the supreme court magistrate voted to approve the action as long as judicial business was not interrupted. Three magistrates abstained.

The protest march is the latest that sets public employees against government officials who are trying to rein in a swelling
national deficit. Of particular concern to lawmakers are pension programs that frequently are overlooked even though they may

generate big expenditures. Lawmakers just passed a bill that reduces what has been a 30 percent annual increase in the pensions of some former lawmakers who served before 1990.

Public employee salaries, including those in the judicial branch generally are 30 to 40 percent higher than those in the private sector.

In response to the announcement of the judicial protest, the constitutional chamber of the supreme court quickly pointed out that it has declared unconstitutional 66 clauses in various public employee union contracts in the last 16 years.

The court is not facing an appeal to reduce benefits to workers at the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. The court said most of the decisions had been based on the reasonability of the union clauses.

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