Strikes: Legal Guarantee in Costa Rica

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.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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.

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From the Legislative Assembly's statement:

January 16th, 2020. The new legislation regulates the essential services where strikes will be prohibited, which are those related to the life, health and safety of people, such as hospitalization, home care, outpatient care, medical examinations, laboratory tests, pharmacy, laundry, surgeries and emergencies. In addition, it includes public police, air and immigration controllers, rail transport, sea transport, loading and unloading at docks, medicines, medical equipment, energy sources, transport services.

Likewise, services of transcendental importance are regulated where strikes are allowed, but under minimum service conditions, which must be agreed upon by the parties, if there is no agreement, a labor judge must resolve it within three days with a hearing for the opposing party. The maximum period for a strike in services of transcendental importance is ten calendar days and then the workers must return to work.

These include waste collection, loading and unloading at docks and moorings, restrictions on leaving the country, national elections, plebiscites, banking services, administration of justice, customs and passenger services at ports, airports and borders.

The education sector forms part of these services and it is established that during the strike the necessary staff must be maintained for the provision of cleaning and security work so that each educational institution remains open and those who wish not to strike may remain in the institution. There must be an agreement between the parties to guarantee this minimum service, otherwise it is defined by the Labor Court within three days after a hearing. And the strike may not exceed 21 consecutive calendar days or 10 discontinuous calendar days.

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