Strike hits Costa Rica hospitals over benefit cut

Hospital staff are on strike in Costa Rica following a breakdown in talks with the Social Security Fund over cuts in disability pay.

Union organizers say the strike will continue until demands are met. The walkout that began Tuesday affects general medical care as well as pharmacy, nursing, laboratory and custodial departments as well as community clinics.

Strikers in the capital are handing out fliers complaining authorities want to reduce disability pay to 60 percent of their normal salary. They now get 100 percent.

Officials say the three biggest hospitals are adequately staffed. Unions say 90 percent of workers are supporting the strike.

Officials are considering asking the labor ministry to declare the strike illegal.

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