by Linda Straker
Some 56 unestablished Extension Officers attached to the Ministry of Agriculture as trainees for almost 19 years, will be receiving more than 50% increase in salaries at the end of January 2016.
Government set up the training programme in September 1996, with 90 young persons whose task and responsibility was to assist established Extension Officers with their duties of working along with farmers throughout the country.
As unestablished government workers, they did not enjoy salary increases when the trade union representing government workers concluded agreements. Over the years, some of them left the programme.
The announcement of the increase was disclosed by Sen. Winston Garraway, who facilitated the first post-cabinet briefing for 2016. Garraway said that the salary adjustment will not be retroactive, and will only benefit those who are in the programme as of 1 January 2016.
These workers who were trainees attached to the Extension Division, have had the same salary of EC$1,000 since 1996, but will be receiving $1,664 as a result of the adjustment. The previous $1,000 was a combination of $800 salary + $200 transportation allowance. The new adjusted salary will be $1,464 monthly + in addition to the $200 transportation allowance.
Describing the trainees as dedicated workers to the development of agriculture and its significant contribution toward the nation, Garraway said that in the coming months, Government will be reassessing the programme.
“These workers were young people who were selected to participate as trainees, but now they are no longer trainees. Some, even during that period upgraded themselves educationally, and they will be playing significant roles following the assessment, and the new structure that will be created,” said Garraway.
“All of them are seen as extension officers, but under the public service structure they are not established workers, so along with the increase they will also have a new title of Extension Assistant Officers,” he said.