Is the government of Carlos Alvarado considering breaking the ICE monopoly on the electricity sector? Two ICE worker unions seem to think so and for that, they have called for a strike for Monday, July 15.

The Executive Presidency of ICE, Irene Cañas, standing to the left of President Carlos Alvarado, denied any intention to dismantle the institution. In April President Carlos, rather, promised to strengthen it. Standing to the right of the president is the Minister of the Environment, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez.

According to the government, the unions are basing their strike on incorrect information, assuring that there are no plans dismantle the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), by removing the institution’s control of the Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENCE) – National Center for Energy Control and a plan for the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL) – National Power and Light Company – to become a public services company, all with the objective of breaking the monopoly of the electricity market held by the State.

The Sindicato de Ingenieros y Profesionales del ICE (Siice) and the Asociación Sindical de Empleados Industriales de las Comunicaciones y la Energía (Asdeice) are using the above argument to rally the troops (their membership) to strike against the autonomous State agency.

Both are affiliated to the Colectivo Sindical Latinoamericanista Patria Justa (Patria Justa Latin American Union Trade Union Collective), related to the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados (ANEP) – National Association of Public and Private Employees, whose secretary-general is the trade unionist Albino Vargas, who led the three month national strike last year.

Asdeice and Siice also integrate the Internal Front of Workers of ICE (FIT-ICE), together, have a membership of some 2,200.