COSTA RICA NEWS — Despite the President’s call on Tuesday for dockworkers in Limóm not to go on strike, at 8:30am this morning, the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva (Sintrajap) called workers to an indefinite strike, sayin it is a “movement of struggle for dignity, to stop a monopoly and prevent serious damage to the people of Limón. We want a modent port but equality and without the monopolies.”
The union and workers are protesting against the granting of a concession for a new container terminal to the Dutch firm APM Terminals. Last week the Supreme Court gave the green light for the construction of the project, after appeals to the concession contract were dismissed.
However, the union still questions the granting of an exclusive contract to APM.
Israel Oconitrillo, spokesperson for the Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrollo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica (Japdeva) – the state agency that currently operates the docks in Limón – confirmed that the Limón and Moís docks are paralyzed.
Sintrajap, in a statement, said they are not striking for better wager or benefits, “we will fight to demand competitiveness in our port and prevent an illegal monopoly (…).”
The head of the Sintrajap, Ronaldo Blear, stressed this morning on ADN 90.7 FM radio that the strike is indefinite and that workers would only attend to any cruiseships that may dock at Limón
Paulo Diaz, general manager of the Japdeva, said that at the time the strike began, three containers ships were in port, each with one to three hours of operations still remaining. For this afternoon, the arrival several more ships is expected.
President Luis Guillermo Solís said Tuesday afternoon that his government would not allow the docks to be paralyzed, that a strike is not in the best interest of the country or Limón and the Caribbean community as a whole.
Solís, after the strike began this morning, called it unjustified. He also made a call for dialogue and the union to “respect the rights of all.”
The President reiterated at and warned the union that the government will not back down on the APM Terminals concession.
The docks at Pacific port of Caldera are not affected.
The Pacific dock is managed by state agency, the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico (INCOP), with port operations under concession to the Colombian consortium “CONSORCIO PORTUARIO DE CALDERA”.