Saturday 9 December 2023

Costa Rica’s “Traficos” on work to rule

Preliminary measures taken by the union is issuing less traffic tickets

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QCOSTARICA – Expect more than 500 ‘traficos’ (Costa Rica’s transit police officers) to look the other way in issuing traffic tickets to pressure for a change in their work schedules.

“Unilaterally, the director (of Transito) modified them and, what is more serious, there is not even a written order,” said the Unateprot and Unaotra unions that bring together traficos, who are being asked to issue “fewer fines”

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On November 1, the director of the Policia de Transito announced a change to the “2x2x2” working hours. This means that the officials work two eight-hour days in the morning, two eight-hour days in the afternoon two days at night, and only one day off a week.

“We have had a conciliation agreement since 2019, where the administration and the union agreed to have five ways of working, five work roles, precisely to avoid labor-related problems. Unilaterally, the director modified them and, what is more serious, there is not even a written order. For this reason, we and our members are very upset and we began to take pressure measures,” said Fernando Carvajal, of the Unateprot.

Understaffed and overworked traffic police

Currently, there are about 650 officers to cover the entire country, down from almost double that in the last few years.

The officers and their unions agree that the 2x2x2 schedule means that the understaffed and overworked officers cover more perimeter. For example, before there were two to three officers covering the night shift, currently seven to eight people cover it at the same time.

“We are going to start issuing fewer fines. We are going to continue attending to accidents, we are going to continue regulating traffic and we hope that, during this week, things improve; if not, next week we will have to take new measures,” Carvajal added.

The traffic police unions asked the Ministry of Labor to conciliate an improvement in the schedule; In addition, they hope, next week, to talk with the Ministro de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) – Minister of Public Works and Transportation – Luis Amador, who is currently out of the country.

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