Thursday 16 September 2021

[BLOG] The Unions Smell Blood!

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With the distinct possibility of Luis Guillermo Solis of the PAC (Citizen Action Party) forming the next Government as the President following the Second Round of the Election, the Unions (Sindicatos) in Costa Rica are “smelling blood”, already becoming more publically vocal with their demands since the end of the First Round.

Photo archives.
Photo archives.

Without a doubt, if Mr. Solis is the President, the Unions can expect a more sympathetic ear from the Government as a result of the left-wing policies of the PAC.

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The net result will be increased wage demands and the jeopardizing of the Moin, Limon Superport, which a Dutch consortium is supposed to build pursuant to a Concession Agreement with the Costa Rican Government. JAPDEVA, the Union representing the stevedores who work at the Port of Moin, has long been opposed to this Superport proceeding.

The building of this Superport is critical to the economy of both the Province of Limon and Costa Rica in general, in order to establish a competitive advantage between ports in Central America. These Union demands, if acceded to by a new left- leaning Government such as PAC, will have a detrimental effect on the economy of Costa Rica.

Trade Unions were an essential development in the 1800’s, toward the end of the Industrial Revolution, to institute fair wages and working conditions for particularly workers in factories and coal mines. In my opinion, with the establishment of Labour Codes by the Governments of Democratic countries throughout the world, which embody these protections through legislation for modern day workers, unions have become virtually obsolete in their original purpose.

Costa Rica has a strong Labour Code (Codigo de Trabajo) which provides through legislation for these worker protections. A movement toward strengthening unions in Costa Rica will have a profound negative impact on the economy of the Country. Work stoppages and strikes would become common place and major arterial routes will be blockaded by union workers marching in the streets.

Large corporations that are affected by such a change are likely to re-locate to friendlier, less-union oriented jurisdictions, taking good paying jobs with them. Should Mr. Solis prevail following the Second Round of the Presidential Election, the Costa Rican economy will suffer greatly over the next four years.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email:, Website:

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