Costa Rica: International Trade Union Network of MECO contacts construction workers in Costa Rica

 

During nine days of intense direct union action in construction projects, the BWI affiliate in Costa Rica, the National Union of Construction and Industry Workers (SINTRACOIN), an organization that is part of the International Trade Union Network of MECO since 2017, carried out a series of activities directly with contracted and outsourced construction workers of MECO in this country, thanks to the support of BWI and the United Federation of Danish Workers, 3F.

From January 22nd to 30st, 2018, in a work schedule that included weekend meetings with workers, SINTRACOIN visited a total of 13 MECO construction projects both inside and outside of San José, Costa Rica. The projects visited between road extensions and maintenance, construction of university faculties as well as bridge arrangements, were the ideal space for SINTRACOIN to present itself as a new construction union in Costa Rica and to implement the work of the Network in this country.

The delivery of at least 550 informative materials directly to building laborers, heavy machinery workers, masons, carpenters, contractors, master builders, banderilleras, construction cleaners, etc. was recorded, which allowed the first direct exchange of union information between SINTRACOIN and workers hired and outsourced by MECO in Costa Rica.

Additionally, thanks to previous SINTRACOIN’s work carried out in its first year (2017) and to the mentioned project visits, it was possible to organize 3 meetings with national and migrant construction workers, one of which was held on a Saturday after workers finished their daily schedule. In total, SINTRACOIN managed to gather 52 workers hired and outsourced by MECO, of which 14 were women who work as banderilleras and construction cleaners in active projects. The young people present at the meetings were 17 in total.

"MECO is a company that just respects labor rights by middle terms," said Gerardo Padilla, General Secretary of SINTRACOIN. "Workers registered by MECO in its official form are just fine, more than fine in fact ... the problem is with outsourced workers, whom MECO ignores but who also needs to carry out all its projects in our country. They are the ones reporting wages below minimum, insufficient work safety conditions, working schedules higher than 12 hours, disrespect to the freedom of unionization and many more negative characteristics".

"That is why it is so necessary to put into practice the work of the International Network of MECO in Costa Rica. Costa Rican and migrant construction workers need it and now BWI allowed to our union to lead that work in the country's private sector", he concluded.

The activity ended with a new Organizational Plan of SINTRACOIN for two years, which started as soon as the event ended.