Costa Rica: Mutiny on Board

A ship's captain is the person legitimately appointed to rule the ship, and must not relinquish power to rebellious sailors who want to set a course that serves their own interests and not the rest of the passengers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


In Costa Rica the crucial debate today is the weight in the country´s economy and productivity, of a minority of state officials who enjoy privileged salaries and working conditions, notably different to other workers, both in the public and private sector.

There is a widespread conviction that these privileges must end, therefore government and the policies of the institutions involved, had started to develop actions to achieve this, which has naturally aroused the discontent of those who will eventually lose these benefits which they refer to as "acquired rights", trying to assert their perpetuity.

This has led to union leaders calling on those privileged sectors to resist changes to these privileges, decreeing a strike on essential public services such as health, fuel, ports, electricity, communications, besides calling for street demonstrations.

The fact is that both the strike and demonstrations have very little support, and demonstrate the weakness of demands of unions and in particular their leaders, who clearly do not have the ability to call on people to support them that they claim to.

However, the Solis administration did give in to the demands of trade unionists, and even did so before the strike took place, which gives us an idea of the type of parody which characterised the activities and protests.
See: Government commits to trade union agenda (In Spanish)

Among the gains for the trade unionists, is the promotion promised by the administration to the bill on the Minimum Wage, because of the negative consequences that will come from its approval not only in productive sectors but also in the generation of more poverty and informality.

The article by José David Guevara in The which addresses President Solis saying "Don Luis Guillermo, do not relinquish the helm" , summarizes the current situation in Costa Rica, where the very definition of representative democracy is threatened.

See also editorial in Compadre spoken (In Spanish)

See also article in "Has the union taken the government´s "pulse?" (In Spanish)

More on this topic

Who's in Charge in Costa Rica?

August 2019

The power of public employees' guilds in the country was evidenced by the agreement that authorities of the Social Security Fund agreed to sign in order that employees of the entity may continue to enjoy privileges to the detriment of others.


Arguing that "judicializing" the strike was the only and best way out that could be achieved in the short term, the highest authorities of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) complied with the pressures of trade guild members, who with the desire to maintain the differential treatment they have enjoyed for many years, suspended access to basic health services, even carrying out actions as despicable as closing a blood bank and paralyzing equipment for cancer treatment.

Another Week of Strike in Costa Rica

September 2018

Millions of dollars in losses to the business sector, fuel shortages and roadblocks are some of the consequences of the strike by public officials in the country.

Since the unions of public institutions started the strike on Monday, September 6, the situation has been getting worse, with no sign of an end any time soon.

Caribbean Ports of Costa Rica On Strike

October 2014

Union members went on strike indefinitely in the port terminals of Moin and Limon, through which pass 80% of international trade by the country and the region.

Business leaders from various productive sectors reported losses caused by the strike, while managers of port administration are looking for alternative labour in order to restart the loading and unloading.

Unionists Running Errands for the Government?

September 2014

In Costa Rica the Solis administration, which promised that no new taxes would be applied in the first two years of its government, has granted a huge increase for public employees, and these are the same people who are now proposing a "Robin Hood" tax.


President Luis Guillermo Solís seems to be increasingly disconnected from the Citizen Action Party which brought him to power, and his government seems more and more to be the result of complex interactions within an academic union corporation, where the dominant political concepts seem to be drawn from melodramas of the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century. The main feature of the members of this outdated corporation - especially its main leaders - is the disconnect with the world of the real economy which allows them to regularly receive their salaries regardless of actual productivity of their labors.

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