Agricultural sciences specialists demand salary adjustments

On February 7, the six groups of agricultural science specialists, recognized by the National Technical Council for Agriculture (CTNA), will take to the streets in protest against non-compliance with Law No. 11 of 1982, which regulates classification every 5 years.

The march will leave Piazza 5 de Mayo towards the Presidency of the Republic, where it will request the intervention of President Laurentino Cortizo.

The amendment was supposed to be effective from January 1, but after talks that began in August 2023, the percentage was not determined.

Agricultural science professionals are demanding an increase of 19.8%, based on the increase in the cost of living, for the five existing categories or recognized by the aforementioned law.

In August 2023, agricultural science specialists handed over to the authorities of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the amendment proposal that should have been effective from January 1, 2024, but on January 23 the authority proposed a 5% amendment, which did not meet the aspirations of the professionals.

But specialists in agricultural sciences confirm that MEDA also presented a counter-proposal with an amendment of only 6.5% for agricultural high school graduates.

The second proposal was not well received by specialists in agricultural sciences, as they assert that the latter “clearly violates Law 11, which speaks of an increase in all categories of professionals in agricultural sciences at the national level.”

The professionals gathered at CTNA are also seeking government sector approval for the permanent appointment of colleagues whose contracts are for fixed or temporary work.

Law No. 11 of 1982 stipulates that the adaptation will be recognized for agricultural science professionals who provide services in state agencies, in independent and semi-automated agencies, municipal agencies and private companies in all categories, including: high school graduates, specialized technicians, and agriculture. Engineers and (or) graduates in other agricultural sciences, master's level professionals and doctoral level professionals. Each of these categories has the right to adjust the salary.

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commented Carlos Muñoz Arango, Agronomist and Master of Horticulture panama star, Writing in Suitability, Salary Scale in Agricultural Sciences, dated January 31, 2024, professionals in agricultural sciences are affected in their family and professional well-being due to the high cost of living, and also due to the difficulty of obtaining qualifications.

Muñoz Arango points to CTNA Resolution No. 2, issued on January 12, 2024, which defines a category of qualifications, but their value has increased, depending on the category: agricultural bachelor’s ($150), agricultural technician ($240), bachelor’s and engineering degrees. ($360), Master's ($540), and Doctorate ($720).

“It is difficult for professionals in agricultural sciences to obtain qualifications, so it is recommended that a review be carried out in this regard to ensure equality for all,” the professional commented in his writing.

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