Who's in Charge in Costa Rica?

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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


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.

For Maurizio Musmanni, president of CACIA, "what is done by government officials is not only contrary to what is established in the new Law to Strengthen Public Finances, but also represents a slap in the face to all citizens and companies, who are paying much more taxes for VAT and income, trusting that there was also a country commitment, especially from the Government of the Republic, to eliminate privileges and wage abuses defended by the unions".  That legal, institutional and political commitment has been violated in an irregular and disappointing way by the government," said Musmanni.

The Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Business Sector (UCCAEP) asked the government to back off with the signed document. "... It is clear that the real danger for the social security system are the health unions themselves, who are willing to sacrifice the members in order to get privileges outside the law and this should not be supported by the Executive Branch."

Regarding the terms of the agreement, an article by Elobservador.cr details that "... In order to put an end to the week-long strike, the Social Security union sector and the government signed a series of compromises, some of the most important of which are as follows:

Not applying the fiscal rule in the CCSS
Maintaining biweekly pay to employees
Avoiding sanctions against demonstrators
Requiring in judicial instances that the new regulations of salary benefits introduced by the Tax Reform are not applied in the Fund
". See full article here.

The unfortunate reality is that the authorities of the CCSS prefer to act as Pontius Pilate, rather than confront the power of the unions. At the end of the press conference in which he justified the signing of the agreement, the executive president of the entity, Román Macaya, said: "It will be a judge of the Republic who decides who is right."

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