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Pay fails to sway Welsh

Significant increases in teacher pay since 1997 have failed to make their mark on Welsh teachers, with only 45 per cent believing they are better rewarded now than under the previous Conservative government.

Teachers who believe they have benefited financially under New Labour are more likely to vote for the party. But Welsh teachers are almost equally divided on whether pay and conditions - currently a Westminster responsibility - should be devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

Some union leaders have claimed Welsh teachers would face lower pay. But Plaid Cymru and UCAC, the Welsh-medium teachers' union, support devolution of pay and conditions. Moelwyn Gwyndaf, UCAC's general secretary, said teachers' pay in Scotland had not worsened. "We need to have confidence.

These figures show there is faith in devolution and teachers feel the Assembly is doing a good job on education," she said.

The National Union of Teachers Cymru would want a safeguard ensuring "parity of pay" between the two countries before giving additional powers to the Assembly.

But Geraint Davies, secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Cymru, said if pay and conditions were devolved, teachers could lose out because Wales is a low-wage economy and there are no staff shortages - unlike in some parts of England.

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