Unions at odds over pay award of 2.3%

3rd April 2009 at 01:00

There was mixed reaction in Wales to the announcement that teachers will receive a 2.3 per cent pay award this week. But most heads' and teachers' unions said it was fair settlement in the economic climate.

The School Teachers' Review Body said the pay rise - approved in consultation with unions - would be awarded this September pending further consultation in June.

Of the public sector, only military personnel will receive a higher increase. Doctors and dentists will get 1.5 per cent.

But the Welsh-medium teachers' union UCAC demanded a 5 per cent rise despite the recession.

Elaine Edwards, the union's secretary, said: "We think that would get teachers back to where they should be in terms of pay.

"Since 2002, pay increases have averaged out between 2.3 and 2.5 per cent, mainly below the rate of inflation.

"Even though inflation has now come down, we feel teachers are beginning to trail behind because of past pay rewards."

The National Union of Teachers had previously called for a 10 per cent pay rise or an extra Pounds 3,000 in teachers' monthly salaries - whichever was higher.

But David Evans, NUT Cymru's secretary, said the union understood the difficult times.

"What's been put on the table is below what we would have expected," he said. "But we understand the current financial climate and the position we are in.

"We will always defend teachers' pay and conditions and ensure it doesn't slip back lower than other professions."

Gareth Jones, secretary of the heads' union ASCL Cymru, also welcomed the announcement.

"The overall pay award of 2.3 per cent is a fair settlement in the current economic situation," he said.

Voice Cymru, the support staff and teachers' union, said it hoped the consultation in June would build upon the proposed increase.

There was also widespread support for recommendations by the pay review body that heads and senior staff should receive cash awards when a head assumes leadership of more than one school - although unions acknowledged that such situations were more common in England than Wales.

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