Not all the teachers on strike since September 10 that were expected to be back at work today, Friday, following the latest with the decision by the Labor Court declaring their strike illegal. Again.
The press office of the teacher’s union, the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza (APSE), announced late Thursday night, at 11:05 pm, that 97% of their members refused to return to the classroom like their peers at the Asociación Nacional de Educadores (ANDE).
According to the APSE, 97% of the 38,000 members of the Association refused to approve the draft agreement that their representatives negotiated with the Education Minister, Edgar Mora.
“In accordance with the above, the APSE union is on an indefinite strike,” the organization said in the statement.
The APSE and ANDE unions combined represent 50,000 public employees of the Ministry of Education (MEP), who have been on strike against the ‘plan fiscal’ or tax reform since September 10.
Wednesday (November 28), the Juzgado de Trabajo del Segundo Circuito Judicial de San José (San Jose Labor Court) once again declared the labor movement illegal. The Court considers that the strike “was not peaceful”, affected “essential services” and “violated the principles of reasonableness.”
MEP lawyers argued that the strike is not against the ministry, that is the workers are not on strike against the employer, rather a government policy which is outside labor relations.
Today is day 82 of the strike.
According to the draft agreement between the unions and the Minister, the teachers would return to the classrooms this Friday to collaborate in the preparation of the 2019 school year.
In addition, the agreement guarantees that there will be no reprisals for going on strike, but disciplinary procedures would be maintained against those who left for travel (while on strike) and school principals who did not show up on Monday, November 26.
Likewise, it was established that any docking of wages would be subject to court decisions.
The strike by teachers has also left more than 79,000 students to be without meals, which for many is perhaps the only decent meal they get, because more than half of the schools are closed.
Thursday, the teachers affiliated with the Sindicato de Educadores Costarricenses (SEC) – Costa Rican Teachers’ Union, which has some 30,000 members, reported that they lifted the strike the movement, deciding to return to the classrooms on Monday.
That is, they will only work the nine days left in the 2018 school year and then will go on vacation to return in mid-January to prepare for the start of the 2019 school year the first week in February.
However, it is not clear if the SEC member teachers will be back to work on Monday, for as soon as the SEC informed its decision, in social networks the members threatened to disaffiliate themselves.