Workers of the Poder Judicial (Judiciary) have been on strike since Wednesday

Q COSTA RICA – The national strike by workers of the Judiciary (Poder Judicial) is expected to continue until Wednesday next when a meeting between union leaders and legislators is to take place.

Since this past Wednesday, officials began a national ‘protest movement’ due to a legislative bill that aims to change the pension system. Union leaders say legislators have not taken into consideration the recommendations made my judicial officials to the reforms.

Basically, emergency service services are operating normally, but the trial courts, judges and public defenders, among others, are not.

At the morgue, Morgue Judicial, in San Joaquín de Flores, bodies are piling up waiting on autopsies. The body of 72-year-old Álvaro Cortés García, the doctor who was found buried in a hole in Peñas Blancas de San Ramón on Tuesday, is one of ten waiting out the strike.

In the Judicial Morgue, in San Joaquin de Flores de Heredia, autopsies are not being performed (unless evidence is in jeopardy) and bodies of victims are not be released to the next of kin. Photo Melissa Fernandez, La Nacion

On the social media comments say that due to the strikes, the bodies of victims are not being released to the families.

“It’s a horrible situation, they are not letting us give him his final rest. This is quite unfair,” Ericka Cortés told La Nacion. “…They have not told us anything because they do not even answer (the phone)…today we went to claim the body but they told us that they could be delayed for two to three more days,” said the daughter.

Many requiring a “hoja de delinquencia” (criminal report) demanded by prospective employers have complained of possibly losing job opportunities because the office that issues the report is closed.

Citizens are asked to call 2267 1000 to find out what services are being provided by the Poder Judicial.

About 16,000 people belonging to some 25 different union organizations of the Poder Judicial are on strike.

What makes this strike different than normal is that the workers are not taking action against their employer, the norm, but against a force external and with no connection to their employer.

A study by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) concluded that the pension fund is insolvent and will begin to eat up reserves in 2029 and would be complete bust by 2048. The pension regime has an actuarial deficit of ¢5.36 trillion colones.

The UCR proposed raising the retirement age from 60 years to 65 years, increasing the contribution of workers and retirees from 11% to 15% and that the amount of the pension is between 72.5% and 85% of the salary of the employee, instead of 100%.

The study also raised a ceiling on pensions of 10 base salaries (currently ¢4 million colones) and a union contribution of 50% on the amount of retirement that exceeds that cap.

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