Block roads from border to border for up to 48 hours is the call for today, Tuesday, September 10, to the representatives of the Mesa Social Multisectoral, by Albino Vargas, the head of the union of one, if not the strongest trade union, the Asociación de Empleados Públicos (ANEP), so that the government give in to their demands.

Albino Vargas (in dark glasses) called on the trade unions in the country to take to the streets today, from border to border in a ‘real and serious strike’.

“The national strike thesis is correct. A great national strike, but a real one. Close the borders, close the Ruta 27, close the Ruta 32, close Ochomogo (fuel distribution center for the greater metropolitan area) … to force those that deny us to sit with us at the (negotiation) table,” said Vargas.

That was the call of the trade unionist on Monday in the auditorium of the Episcopal Conference in San Jose, during a meeting held with representatives of transporters, students, fishermen and farmers, who all have a beef with the current government and who make up the Mutisectoral Social Roundtable.

The group wants to force the government to its knees, demanding compliance to their 18 points, including the non-approval of the ‘strike law‘ – the bill to regulate strikes, like the one being called, and the withdraw the draft bill on Public Employment Framework.

And although the government continues a dialogue with the unions, even giving in to several of the demands of the unions, such as the removal of the Minister of Education, Edgar Mora, Albino Vargas insists on calling his membership to the streets.

“Only a people in struggle will force the ones really in power to sit down (at the table). A great national strike hopefully 24, 48 hours, but a serious one,” said Vargas in an audio provided by Noticias Monumental.

Joining Vargas in the call to the streets today is also the Unión de Trabajadores de la Caja (Undeca).

“So that you know that the workers of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) will not easily give up our rights, we defend the agreements,” says a union newsletter.

The call comes days after the Comptroller General ordered the Board of Directors of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) to void the agreement signed in August (and February) by the executive president of the CCSS, Roman Macaya, and the trade unions, that would allow public health sector workers to continue receiving their bonus based on a percentage and not a fixed fee called for in the Tax Reform Law that went into effect last December.

At the time, Macaya and the CCSS was strongly criticized for giving in to union demands, to end the more than 10-day strike of thousands of the 57,000 public health sector workers and fears that other public sector employees would demand then same benefit; and that the agreement superseded the law.

A recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, on the blockades on Route 32 and Pérez Zeledón, caused by students, teachers and truck drivers between June and July, reiterated the obligation of the Traffic Police and the Ministry of Public Security to take the measures to remove blockages on national roads and ensure the free movement of all people.