Truck drivers demand better working conditions at Costa Rica’s docks
A group of independent truck drivers on Monday afternoon demonstrated in front of Casa Presidencial, east of San José, asking the government to draft regulations to eliminate “exploitation by multinational companies that ship cargo through Costa Rica’s docks.”
Protest leaders Carlos Vásquez and Gerardo Rodríguez said independent transporters are facing an unstable situation as minimum rates are not set for services they offer at the country’s docks, both at Caribbean and Pacific ports.
Most of the country’s exports leave the country via docks; more than 80 percent leave through docks in the Caribbean province of Limón.
Both leaders met with Presidency Ministry officials and delivered a document explaining problems they say affect some 18,000 drivers and their families.
Drivers claim big multinational companies like Chiquita, Del Monte, Pindeco, Dole, Maersk, Seaboard and others negotiate service conditions with larger transport companies, “while we get less than fair rates, and they always delay our payments,” the document states.
Truckers also denounced that big companies hire them only through intermediaries who do not offer any kind of insurance and force them to work on excessive schedules several hours a day.
The transporters’ petition states that if their demands are not met they will hold a large public demonstration “big enough to finally make people pay attention” to the problems affecting them and their families.
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