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Costa Rican Specialists Protest for Better Working Conditions and Salaries

A group of specialists from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) are set to start protesting on April 1, demanding improvements in their workplace conditions, better infrastructure, competitive salaries, and access to necessary equipment.

The physicians have indicated that, as part of their protest, they will refrain from working overtime, leading to potential delays in surgeries, outpatient procedures, and radiology services.

“The CCSS authorities presented Medical Specialists Union (SINAME) representatives with an inadequate salary proposal; a 1.2 version of a temporary salary that falls below the national average,” stated SINAME.

The organization attributes the departure of specialists to inflexible schedules, poor organizational climate, and inadequate remuneration.

The union reported that a meeting was held with CCSS management personnel on Wednesday to present proposals and establish a dialogue, but as of now, no agreement has been reached.

In response to the protest, the CCSS has initiated a tender in the Public Procurement System (SICOP) to contract services from doctors in the private sector starting April 1, aiming to address the shortage of its own personnel.

According to the contract specifications, the purpose is to acquire integrated services for qualified medical-surgical emergency care and specialized medical procedures, including radiology, from Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 7 a.m., Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m., and 24 hours on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

Additionally, Marta Esquivel, president of the CCSS, has filed an appeal before the Constitutional Chamber, alleging that the specialists’ union’s decision to cease overtime work as of Monday, April 1 represents an “imminent risk” to the population.

Esquivel argues that rights to health and human life, among others, could be violated and requests the constitutional magistrates to issue a precautionary measure against the Union.

Currently, the institution has declared an internal state of emergency, supported by the refusal of a group of specialist physicians to work these shifts.

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