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Costa Rica: Further negotiations on port strikes

The Costa Rican Minister of Labour, Víctor Morales, said today that negotiations between the Government and the Port Union, mediated by the country’s ombudswoman, Montserrat Solano, open the possibility of a resolution for the labour strikes.

Costa Rica’s ombudswoman will meet separately today with Government and strikers, to examine the possibility of opening a dialogue to resume work on the docks of the port of Limón.

Solano’s condition to mediate was a pledge from both parties to participate willingly, to respect one another, and to prevent any form of violence from taking place.
The Minister of Labour, Víctor Morales, stated in a letter to Solano that the Government was willing to attend the proposed meeting.

The striking Port Union also welcomed the ombudswoman’s approach. "We will evaluate the possibility of planning a joint agenda and bring both parties, through mediation, to try reaching an agreement that will solve the conflict," said Solano.

In a letter to Morales and the Port Union leader, Ronaldo Blear, the ombudswoman said "it is important for the country to be shown the commitment shared by both parties in making the greatest of efforts.”

For the past two weeks, the Union has held strikes in the port of Limón to demand the annulment of a contract with the Dutch firm APM Terminals for the construction and operation of a container wharf. The conflict has been exacerbated by the Government's refusal to suspend the contract, by a demonstration during which workers burned pictures of President Luis Guillermo Solis and several Ministers, and by the fact that the labour court declared the strike illegal.

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