Published Thursday, August 15, 2019

Social Security authorities and Union leaders known as Undeca, signed and agreement to stop the Union's strike. /Social Security courtesy photo.

AmCham rejects the agreement signed between Social Security authorities and Union leaders

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican - U.S. Chamber of Commerce, known as AmCham, announced the rejection of the content of the recent agreement, signed between Social Security authorities and Union leaders known as Undeca.

According to AmCham, this agreement is contrary to the commitment that President Carlos Alvarado asked of all Costa Ricans.

The chamber considers the agreement to be a signal for other public institutions to seek to be excluded from the tax law, especially as it pertains to the salaries of public employees.

"With these actions, we cannot ask citizens to have confidence in their authorities," said Elías Soley, President of AmCham. "The government must be consistent with its actions, respect the sectors and responsible citizens that accept tax reform, as well as the employees and businessmen who contribute to Social Security every month. "

According to the chamber, the agreement signed to stop the strike sends a bad signal to the risk rating agencies, the OECD and multilateral organizations.

AmCham calls on the government to require the authorities of public institutions to comply with the provisions of the Law on Strengthening Public Finance.

In response to the claims made by representatives of the business sector, Víctor Morales-Mora Minister of the Presidency said "Agreement with Social Security does not mean increases in salaries, new salary extras, or privileges," for public employees.

Regarding the tax reform, Morales-Mora said that the law had been applied to Social Security since December 2018.

According to the minister, there is a conflict in Social Security about the way extra payments are calculated in the salary. The agreement will be analyzed by a judge, who will determine how these additional payments will be applied.

On August 14th, Social Security reported that during the 8-day union strike, 223,762 medical appointments were scheduled, of which only 140,890 were completed.

Concerning to surgeries, 3,341 procedures were scheduled, of which only 1,677 were performed.

In April, the Court gave Social Security 6-months to reduce patient waiting lists in hospitals.

The Constitutional Court Chamber ordered Social Security to design, in a maximum of six months, an integrated management system to reduce the "disproportionate and unreasonable deadlines that the patient should expect to receive care in hospitals," said the ruling.

The problem is that it represents a systematic and repeated violation of the right to health, said the Court.

The Constitutional Court concluded that the problem in terms of excessive waiting lists is a constant in Social Security. "These actions in the provision of public service violate the right to health, as a fundamental right and violate the constitutional principles of public service," said the resolution statement.

Social Security must define reasonable waiting times for treatments, as well as objective criteria to specify the location of a patient on waiting lists.

To follow up on compliance with this ruling, the Constitutional Chamber set a public hearing for November 14th, in the Supreme Court of Justice. On that day, the authorities of Social Security must present the advances and actions developed.

Do you think healthcare workers were right to strike over the current issues?
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