Well if you’re like me and you’ve often wondered why the cost of living in Costa Rica has increased so dramatically, we have one big reason for you to look at here today.

Bloated, totally OBSCENE government salaries!

Over the past few weeks in the largest, most respected newspaper in the country – La Nación – the local population have had their eyes opened WIDE thanks to Deputy Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement political party.

His goal in revealing this information ‘is to demonstrate that the public sector is full of excesses, abuses and imbalances’. (‘Es demostrar que el sector público está repleto de excesos, abusos y desproporciones).’

Now the unions are claiming that much of the information is ‘false’ but having read through all of this information a few times and knowing how draconian the defamation and slander laws are here, I doubt very much that Otto Guevara has his facts wrong and if they were, it’s extremely unlikely that La Nación would publish them if they felt they were incorrect.

The First Example of Truly Obscene Salaries Within Government in Costa Rica.

    1. Using data obtained from the Instituto ante la Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) which is Costa Rica’s health and Social Security system we read a comprehensive article about the employees at the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) which is the Costa Rican government-run electricity and telecommunications services provider. Together with the Radiographic Costarricense SA and Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz form the ICE Group.

The Current Rate of Exchange: So that you know who to analyze these numbers, you should know that the Current Rate of Exchange as of the 16th July 2015 and 528 colones to 1 US dollar. You can see the current rate of exchange here.

Here are a couple of examples of the spectacularly obscene salaries at the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad:

      • A basic construction worker at ICE earns ¢1,400,000 and a ‘misceláneo‘ earns ¢1,300,000 for the 32 days in in May 2015 while the same construction worker worker in the private sector would earn ¢343,000 and a ‘misceláneo‘ ¢300,000
      • A warehouseman at ICE earns up to ¢1,200,000 while the same worker in the private sector would earn ¢407,000
      • A cashier at ICE earns up to ¢1,500,000 while the same worker in the private sector would earn ¢360,000
      • A journalist at ICE earns up to ¢2,300,000 while the same worker in the private sector would earn ¢820,000

Even More Ridiculous Salaries at the University of Costa Rica.

    1. With 9,294 employees, the University of Costa Rica is a major employer and it would appear that it’s a very generous employer.Take a look at the bar chart below and you’ll see ‘the average salary in the private sector’, ‘the average salary at the University of Costa Rica, the ‘minimum salary according to the Ministry of labour’ and ‘the maximum salary at the University of Costa Rica.

Obscenity Records Broken At CNFL.

  1. Remembering that RACSA and CNFL are both part of the ICE group, there are significant wage differences between these three entities. While the average salary CNFL is ¢ 1.3 million in Radiographic Costarricense (RACSA) it is 33% less = ¢ 883,000In the case of the telephone call centers, the average salary of a telephonist in the company is ¢ 927,000 with the highest at ¢ 2.6 million, while at RACSA, it’s about ¢ 400,000. In addition, administrators earn ¢ 1 million more in one company than the another (¢ 3.1 million versus ¢ 2.1 million).

    Costa Rica’s Refinery That Doesn’t Refine Anything.

  2. The last article published on the 17th July 2015 was about La Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (Recope) which is the ‘The Costa Rican Oil Refinery’ which no longer refines any oil.In the bar chart below you can see the Base Salary shown in orange, the ‘Anualidades’ (annual bonus payments) in beige, the overtime (horas extra) in green and additional bonuses in black.

    As is clear from the chart, the salary is actually the smallest part of their annual compensation. In April they had one driver (chofer) who earned ¢ 2,800,000 colones which is US$5,283 for supposedly working 15 hours per day! Yeah! Right!

    According to the Recope website the organization’s vision statement is: “To be a pillar of competitiveness of Costa Rica.” (“Ser un pilar de la competitividad de Costa Rica.”) which is laughable.

Not only are these salaries outrageous in comparison to the private sector in Costa Rica but the pensions and other perks enjoyed by public sector employees are also excessive.

Finally, it was the Comptroller of the University of Costa Rica who summed up the situation most accurately in their OQ-R-107 report in 2013 when it stated that: “.. excessive salaries and bonuses could cause an economic collapse if no action is taken in the short term.

The La Nación Articles Mentioned in the Video Are Listed Below

    1. ICE paga a misceláneos y peones hasta ¢1,4 millones
    2. Un oficial de tránsito gana hasta ¢2,7 millones en UCR
    3. 6 de cada 10 empleados de la CNFL ganan más de ¢1 millón.

ICE se niega a remitir información de planilla.

  1. Luis Guillermo Solís: ‘Siempre es un buen momento para hablar’ de salarios públicos.
  2. Recope pagó a chofer ¢1,5 millones en extras en abril.
  3. Respuesta de Otto Guevara al ICE.
  4. No es cierto que el ICE pague a peones y misceláneos más de un millón de colones.

What’s the solution?

Let me know, I would love to hear your opinions and feedback.

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