Ending the Abuse of Power

In Costa Rica, the Congress approved in first debate a bill that authorizes employers to suspend, from the first day of demonstration, the payment of wages to public sector workers who are on strike.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Legislative Assembly voted in the first debate on file 21049, a law to provide legal security about the strike and its procedures, which seeks to eliminate the exaggerated privileges that employees of state entities have when they decree and execute a strike in the public sector, the Legislative Assembly informed on Tuesday, September 3.

The proposal approved in the bill establishes that the strike in education services may be exercised for up to 21 consecutive calendar days or 10 discontinuous calendar days, after these periods the workers must return to work, the document states.

See "Who's in Charge in Costa Rica?

The official statement adds that "... Essential public services are understood as those whose suspension, discontinuity or paralysis can cause significant damage to the rights to life, health and public safety. Therefore, the strike is forbidden there."

On the other hand, the Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector (UCCAEP) considers as "... a relevant issue of this project approved in the first debate, the suspension of the strikers' wages from the first day of demonstration and will only proceed with the payment in case the judge declared that the movement is legal. As UCCAEP has already stated, it is logical that if a strike is declared illegal, the wages should not be paid, since these are the retribution for the time effectively worked by an employee."

Also see "Strike and Economic Slowdown

Gonzalo Delgado, president of UCCAEP, explained that "... the new legislation also contemplates how to proceed with the dissolution of the unions, provided that in court it is proven that they intervene in political-electoral matters, that they initiate or foment religious struggles, that they maintain activities contrary to the democratic regime established by the country's Political Constitution, that they use manifest violence on other people to force them to enter them or to prevent them from their legitimate work; that they foment criminal acts against people or property; and that they maliciously provide false data to the labor authorities."

For the Costa Rican Chamber of the Food Industry (CACIA), "... the approval of the legislative file is a first step, which gives this and the next governments a tool that allows them to correct the errors of the previous Labor Procedural Reform and an orderly reduction of the excesses of the public sector."

¿Busca soluciones de inteligencia comercial para su empresa?

More on this topic

Strikes: Legal Guarantee in Costa Rica

January 2020

After the approval in second legislative debate of the law authorizing employers to suspend, from the first day of demonstration, the payment of wages to public servants who go on strike, the file will go to the President, Carlos Alvarado.

The Plenary Session of the Legislative Assembly approved, with 35 deputies in favor and 13 against, in its second and final debate, Bill 21,049, which will regulate strikes by establishing new rules so that workers can exercise this right, the Legislative Assembly reported.

Strikes in Costa Rica: Progress on the Bill

January 2020

After listening to the observations made by Chamber IV, the deputies approved in first debate the law authorizing employers to suspend, from the first day of demonstration, the payment of wages to civil servants who go on strike.

On September 3, 2019, the bill had already been approved in first debate, however, at the time of submitting it to the consultation of Chamber IV, two defects of unconstitutionality were found, which were corrected.

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.

Construction Strike in Panama Postponed

April 2014

Business Chamber and Workers Union have agreed to continue negotiations which has postponed the threat of a general strike for 20 days.

It is estimated that losses to the Panama construction sector could be more than $9 million a day if the general workers strike takes place. The workers are demanding, among other things, that a single wage scale be established at a national level.