Striking dockworkers with containers in the background. Photo La Nacion, John Durán
Striking dockworkers with containers in the background. Photo La Nacion, John Durán

COSTA RICA NEWS: The Limón dockworker’s strike is now in its 11th day and with no end in sight, this after the union membership rejecting the agreement reached Thursday between union representatives and the government.

“The proposal does not meet the expectations of the board and members within the organization,” said General Secretary of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva (Sintrajap) union, Ronaldo Blear.  The agreement “gives no specific point of the monopoly clause that was the reason for the strike response, it does not say what the role of the committees will be binding on the parties,” said the union leader.

The government and union representatives had met all day Thursday. The agreement reached would have created various committees to discuss the different aspects of the conflict, one those is to explore the legal option to force a renegotiation of clause 9.1 of the government’s contract with APM Terminals, that in the opinion of the union would create a monopoly of the Limón ports in favour of the Dutch company.

The government’s deal with APM Terminals was signed in 2012 by then president Laura Chinchilla, that would see the Dutch company invest one billion dollars to construct and operate a megaport at Moín for 33 years. A series of court appeals delayed the project.

At the beginning of last month (October 2014), the Supreme Court dismissed all appeals and gave the green light for the project to proceed, followed up with a confirmation by APM Terminal that it would start construction in January 2015.

However, on Wednesday, October 22, the Sintrajap union called for an indefinite strike after not being able to negotiate with the government an amendment to the 9.1 clause.

A quick police action the same day retook the ports from the striking workers and the state agency operating the port, Japdeva, announced it was brining in non-union workers and declared the Limón ports open, meanwhile the Sintrajap continued firm, saying the workers would be on strike indefinitely.

On Friday, the Tribunal de Trabajo de Limón (Limon Labour Court) declared the strike “illegal”.

The ports of Limón, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, move more than 80% of goods in the country.

Source: La Nacion