Teachers, when was your last increment?

As the government proceeds to increase the salaries of public sector workers, after a lapse of several years, the notion of ”regular increments” has been inserted into the narrative, again. The point presumably being made is this: Even without a general increase in salaries during the period, public servants have been receiving regular increments each year without fail. This is absolutely correct. The problem is, however, every public servant does not get an annual increment.

Public sector workers on the permanent establishment are generally paid according to a scale. This means that when one is first appointed to a named post, he/she is paid at the start, the minimum salary associated with that post. Then, a small increase is granted each year until the maximum salary becomes payable. Depending on the post, it takes between four and seven years to earn the maximum.

It is safe to assume that the vast majority of public servants have reached the maximum salary payable in their respective posts. The only hope for any further increase, barring a promotion, is a general enhancement in salaries across the board. Consider the table below with examples from the teaching profession.

increments Source: SVG Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2018

Anyone holding any of these posts for a period in excess of the listed number of years is NOT entitled to any further annual increase. In the case of the education sector, this may well amount to hundreds of teachers.

Any attempt to give the impression that increments are paid across the board on an annual basis is misleading. Perhaps, the government and the unions should begin to consider whether increments should be automatic, as they currently are, or whether they should be granted based on performance. That is another issue!

 

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