“Today (Monday) we officially closed the preliminary phase of rapprochement in which the Church served as mediator (…) Today we informed the Trade Unions that was here that, on behalf of the Government, we signed the document and all those unions that have not made a decision, we give them one week we will have it (the agreement) signed for all those unions that wish to approach the Ministry of Labor and sign it, through which we would be able to advance to the next phase, which would be a dialogue table.
“As the document points out, the condition is to lift the strike movement.”
Those were the words of the Ministro de Trabajo (Minister of Labor), Steven Nunez, who is positive that there are unions and public sector employees who want to end the strike, now in its 23rd day.
The minister’s positivity is based on information that there are unions and their members in search of a way out of the strike against the Plan Fiscal (Tax Reform).
Initially, of the 12 union organizations that were represented during the more than a week, 10 said they would not sign the agreement reached after almost 100 hours of talks, because their memberships do not support it.
The decision of the Unión de Empleados de la Caja (Undeca) and the Confederación de Trabajadores Rerum Novarumnion is still pending.
However, Núñez left open the possibility for all the union groups. They have until Monday, October 8, around 5 pm.
“These have not been hours in vain, time that has been consumed in vain, rather there is the product of all this work. So on our part, we thank the Union leadership and the Government for having taken us into account to carry out this work and invite them to move forward. The country can not stop … “, said the archbishop of San José, José Rafael Quirós.
At the preliminary negotiation table, there were also five representatives of the Government and five of the Church who acted as mediator.
“There have not been hours in vain, time that has been consumed in vain, but there is the product of all this workday. So on our part, thank the Union Union, the Government for having taken us into account to carry out this work and invite them to move forward. The country can not stop … “, said the archbishop of San José, José Rafael Quirós, who formed part of the Catholic Church’s mediator team.
Quirós added that initially, the Government had asked the Church to safeguard the document and make it available to all the unions, but the Church considered it best if the Government held on to it.
The archbishop of San José clarified that they have not withdrawn as mediators, but that the process has come to an end. He insisted that they want social peace and the answers to the most urgent doubts..
The deal reached by the two sides at dawn on Saturday proposes the installation of a dialogue table to evaluate the substantive aspects of fiscal matters; manage the sending of the project of fiscal reform that is currently before the Legislative Assembly to a consultation for eight days, a place that would give them the possibility of searching for “points of consensus”; also the application of the legal system but “without reprisals or discrimination” to the strikers, and, finally, that the agreement would be subject to the decision of the union membership.
After the press conference on Monday, which lasted for about two hours, absent were union leaders.
The Minister of Labor said they are respectful of the decision of the unions but are willing to continue to the dialogue table with those who decide in the coming days.
“This is a decision of the Government of the Republic (…) We have never closed the door to dialogue and that is why we are granting this time”, insisted Núñez.
The minister sent a message to the citizens:
“We regret the continuation of the strike movement, the Government has an interest in Costa Ricans, so that services are no longer affected (…) And we want the strike to be called off, the condition is that simple.”