Nearly seven out of ten employees of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) – the majority teachers – have yet to return to work
Among the MEP employees on strike since September 10 are teachers, janitors, cooks, and administrative staff, among others,
The MEP reports the attendance report on October 25 indicates 29,501 employees are absent, compared to 12,435 who are at work despite the strike being declared illegal by the Labor Courts.
In percentages, those who have not returned to their jobs, represent 67%.
The absence of the employees has led to the closing of many schools and those open, short staffed.
This causes that a great majority of the students have completed seven weeks without classes and will little time left to catch up, as the school year winds down. The school year in Costa Rica is from February to beginning of December.
Education Minister, Édgar Mora, has insisted to the teachers who return to classes there will not be reprisals.
However, the MEP employees are heeding to the call of the union leaders to continue the strike until the appeal process is completed and return to work if and only if the illegality of the strike is confirmed.
The good news is that, according to Mora, despite a large number of employees still not showing up for work, the number of staying on strike has been decreasing every week.
During the first week of the strike, the MEP reported the absence of 38,635 employees.
“In the last week, many teachers have returned to their work under my word (of no reprisals): no one has received sanctions or retaliation for returning, to the contrary, they have been welcomed,” said the Minister.
The MEP teachers are striking against the Plan Fiscal (Tax Reform) proposed by the government and approved in the Legislative Assembly in the first debate. The bill requires a second and final reading before it can go into effect, a process that could be months away, if it gets that far.