TISTICA REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES 01 07? 1192 TR 007 OTTI 19871640299 Tight 17SWOL GHISS 7930 hygenic and sanitary conditions, professional risks, workmens compensation and medical services; Social Organizations such as syndicates and cooperatives; Strikes and lock outs; Arbitration and Legal Processes, in labor disputes, containing 173 Articles and divided into sub sections; Excludes members of Congress, the Army and certain other Government employees from the benefits of the law; Organization of the Ministry of Labor; 10. Penalties for non compliance with the law, and, ll. Transitory Articles.
The almost immediate reaction of the public was that this code was far too radical. The laborers side is to be upheld in any doubtful case and at first glance it does not appear that there is any conception of the corresponding rights of employers. Arbitrators are set up who may pass on a case from the point of view of equity and justice without reference to the law or arguments of the opposing sides. The necessity for the code is seriously questioned, and in general it has been said that this labor code is not applicable to the problems of Costa Rica Costa Rica is not an industrial country and there are no sweat sho Unemp. loyment has not been the serious menace to Costa Rica that it has been in other countries.
With a population of only 600, 000 persons there is still abundant land available. Should the code, covering almost the entire range of social legislation, be passed as it now stands and strictly enforced, it is the opinion of many deputies, lawyers and business men that Costa Rica would be effectively closed to the investment of foreign capital. The provisions of the code call for so many additional expenses on the part of capital that companies here fear that they may be unable to continue business.
Mr. Hamer, the general manager of the United Fruit Company, informed President Calderón Guardia that his company would not be able to stand the additional costs, envisioned by the code. He pointed out to the President that in view of the large amounts of money invested and the necessity for long term security, the Fruit Company curtailed and even abandonedi many of its projects in Colombia because of the passage of similar legislation in that country. For example, out of 365 days in the year there are now the fifty two Sundays and fifteen holidays in which workers perform no labor leaving 298 work days. The code calls for full payment to workers for five holidays, two weeks vacation and a severance fund of thirty days pay for each year of work for every worker. This adds a minimum of sixteen percent to the labor costs. In addition, if the experience of the United Fruit Company in Colombia is followed, at least eight full time persons and probably four lawyers will be needed to keep the records called for by the law, said Mr. Hamer. Medical examination will have to be given to each person before being hired to prevent false claims for disability sustained while working under contract.
The responsibility of the capitalists under the code relieves workers from any responsibility, practically speaking. The fact that minimum wage scales for each region will be fixed by a commission representing labor, capital and the Government means in practice that Government will decide wages, and not the company involved.