Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court Annuls Law Allowing Strikes in Essential Services

By Rico

Teachers on strike. Photo archives.

Teachers on strike. Photo archives.

QCOSTARICA – The Constitutional Court (Sala IV as it is commonly known) annulled the Labour Procedural Reform (Reforma Procesal Laboral) that would have included, starting in 2016, the right to strike by public employees of essential services such as hospitals, clinics, airports, ports and police.

The Sala IV decision on Friday, by a narrow margin of 4 votes to 3, supports the veto by former president Laura Chinchilla (in 2013), lifted by President Luis Guillermo Solis last year.

Related:  The Presidential Decree Permitting Strikes in Essential Services

The issue of labour reform now goes back to the political arena, the government announcing yesterday that it will abide by the constitutional decision and to resume efforts in the Legislative Assembly (Congress).

The legal director of the Presidency, Marvin Carvajal emphasized that the Constitutional Court blamed the unconstitutionality of the law by the previous legislature. For him, this is a golden opportunity to process the project and pass through the sieve of the constitutional consultation by current legislators.

The Court decision puts lawmakers on uncertain ground, now having two paths: remove items deemed unconstitutional by Chinchilla, or consult the Court to see if the senior judges fully support the reform.

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