Costa Rican trade unionists on hunger strike over salary demand
ICFTU Online..., 146/990802/DD, 2 August 1999
Brussels August 2 1999 (ICFTU OnLine):Five trade unionists, including two women, from UNION SINDICAL -a grouping of the country's public sector unions, the CTRN, SITRAERENA,UNDECA, CMTC, ANEP, SINDHAC, UNATROPYT, Health Workers Union, SEC and SITECO, have been on hunger strike outside the Employment Ministry since July 28 to protest at the government's refusal to raise salaries to keep up with price rises.
These hunger strikers are part of a larger public workers strike of 90,000 employees, which is protesting over the government's refusal to pay a reasonable increase which will keep up with an increase in the cost of living. The government has already agreed to a 15% rise in the cost of transport fuel, which will lead to a rise in the cost of basic food stuffs such as rice and milk.
The government originally offered the public sector workers a pay rise of between 3% and 4%, but raised it to 5.20%, payable in two instalments, the first in July, the second in October. However, as the unions have pointed out, this will effectively cancel out the increase because inflation in Costa Rica is currently running at between 7% and 8%.
The unions have asked the church, in the person of Monsenor Roman Arrieta, to mediate between them and the government.
The ICFTU has written to Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez asking him to accept Monsenor Arrieta as intermediary and to reopen negotiations with unions, and to ensure the health of the hunger strikers.
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)