Sixth-form college teachers will see their pay fall even further behind that of school teachers after they were offered a 0.75 per cent pay rise.
The increase, which will be backdated to this September, is significantly smaller than the 2.3 per cent rise being enjoyed by state-school teachers until the end of the academic year. It amounts to an extra #163;225 on a salary of #163;30,000.
Despite the low figure and inflation running at 4.6 per cent, unions are expected to accept the sum because many feared staff were in line for no pay rise at all.
Sixth-form college teachers have been in limbo since the summer, waiting to find out how much they would get paid for 201011 after the Sixth Form Colleges' Forum (SFCF) put the decision on hold until after last month's comprehensive spending review.
The 0.75 per cent offer has been welcomed by some, since further education lecturers were offered just 0.2 per cent this year.
It is the first time in nearly 20 years that the pay of teachers in sixth-form colleges - there are 8,500 full-time equivalent posts - has not been automatically pegged to that of teachers in schools.
However, the SFCF, which negotiates pay with unions, has also included in its offer a long-term commitment to bring sixth-form college teachers' pay into line with that of school teachers. It also says it will address a number of concerns raised by unions about workload.
Unions are currently consulting members and are expected to say whether they accept the pay offer by early December.
Sue Witham, head of secretariat at SFCF, previously said she was "very nervous" about the outcome of the comprehensive spending review and the impact it would have on the pay offer they could make.
Following the proposed rise, Ms Witham told The TES: "Colleges are in a very tight financial situation and they can see that it is going to get more difficult in the next two years. The forum has discussed this for a very long time and now it's up to the unions."
Martin Freedman, head of pay at education union ATL, said: "The CSR wasn't terribly good news and we feared a zero offer, so, in my view, it is not the worst outcome we could have had."
He added that college teachers would have "even more catching up to do" to bring their wages in line with colleagues in schools in future.
Both school and sixth-form college teachers are due to be affected by a two-year public sector pay freeze due to start from September 2011.
ANGRY UNISON CALLS BALLOT
A major support-staff union is to launch a ballot for industrial action after its pay-negotiating body was axed.
Unison announced this week that it will send out a consultative ballot to members following the Government's decision to ditch the School Support Staff Negotiating Body.
Union leaders are angry because the body had only just begun its work to create a fairer national pay framework for school support staff.