By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
At least five unions are calling for a national strike the last week of June, as a measure to stop the recently approved increase in the contributions workers should pay to the social security system.
On Monday morning, the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza announced it will go on strike on June 27.
This union represents the high school teachers across the country and it is one of the biggest in terms of membership at a national level.
On Monday afternoon, the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense agreed to go on general strike that same week without setting up a specific date.
The Bloque is a confederacy of unions including that of teachers, doctors and social security workers, among others.
“We will provide a specific date in the following week because we need some time to organize the logistics involved and let our members save the dates to join us,” said Marta Rodríguez, spokesperson for the Bloque.
She is also Secretary-General of the Unión de Trabajadores de la Caja y la Seguridad Social.
|According to Ms. Rodríguez, the call for strike will include health workers who will join the movement without completely interrupting emergency services.
“The only way we will call this strike off is when the government decides to stop the increase in the contributions and the executive director is removed from her post,” added Ms. Rodríguez. “Otherwise, we will fight in the streets.”
On Thursday, the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados also asked for the resignation of María Saénz, current head of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.
Union leaders are unhappy with the decision of increasing the monthly workers contribution to the social security in 0.5 percent of the salary beginning this July, and another 0.5 percent in January.
They have requested a halt to that decision, as they consider the measure to punish the working class for the mismanagement of pensions fund of the Caja.
Experts from the Universidad de Costa Rica have warned that the only way to keep the Caja financially sustainable is to increase the worker’s contribution up to 27 percent of their salary.
Otherwise, the pensions fund could go broke as of 2028.