Monday 27 September 2021

Labor Judge declares the strike by Poder Judicial workers legal

The judge said the State failed to prove the work of the Poder Judicial employees on strike as an 'essential service'

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The Juzgado de Trabajo del Segundo Circuito Judicial de San José (Labor Court) declared legal the strike of the employees of the Poder Judicial  – the Judiciary – against the processing of the fiscal reform.

The public sector workers unions urge their membership to continue the strike that began on September 10

The decision of Judge Víctor Manuel Orozco Zárate, made known Friday night, rejected the request of the Government, represented by the Attorney General, Julio Jurado, to declare the strike illegal.

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The State attorney had argued that the work of the Poder Judicial is an “essential service”.

However, judge Orozco Zárate did not see it that way, in his decision citing that the State had failed to prove the essential services, refuting the argument presented by Jurado,  that “The administration of justice is an essential public service and for that reason its officials do not have the right to strike”.

The judge wrote, “The managing party (Procuraduría) did not show that the suspension of the work of the judicial officials was a result of the essential public service provided by the different labor offices, nor that their public officials exercise authority functions on behalf of the State. This is because there is no evidence in the file that proves the State’s allegation is reliable”.

Also, the judge indicated that the strike movement by Judicial workers was peaceful.

“The strike promoted by the unions: Trade Union of Professionals and Technicians in Accounting, Finance and Allied of the Judicial Branch (Asprotecofi); National Association of Judicial Employees (Anejud); National Association of Investigators in Criminalistics (ANIC); Syndicate of the Judicature (Sindijud); Trade Union of Workers of the Judiciary (Sitrajud), is legal”, says the resolution issued at 3:06 p. m. on November 9.

But the “essential services” was not the only reason cited in the State’s filing. Attorney General Jurado argued that the strike was related to employer-employee conflicts, since it was a strike against a political reform – the tax reform.

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Jurado quantified the strike “political”, arguing that the movement was contrary to the rules and principles that govern strikes.

However, the judge ruled that “political strikes” are allowed in the country.

“In Costa Rica, political strikes involving workers from different sectors of the production and service provision activities can take place, against government measures that may affect their social and economic interests, having as a counterpart the governing authorities of the State, or be, against public policies as it is in this case,” says his resolution.

The State has now three (working) days to appeal the decision.

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