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Union breaks pay ranks

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is expected to break ranks with fellow classroom-teacher unions by calling for a 7.5 per cent pay increase and extra cash for excellent classroom practice.

Next week a joint submission by four unions to the School Teachers' Review Body will ask for a substantial increase that could be phased, but does not name a figure. It also warns that the settlement must be properly funded and not paid for by local education authority cuts, and criticises the review body's proposals to double the 18-point pay spine, saying this will lead to smaller increases. They also fear it could introduce performance-related pay by the back door.

Union leaders said the document signed by the National Union of Teachers, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, ATL and the Professional Association of Teachers contains "more meat" than previous joint efforts. It has been seen as a vital contribution to the consultation process.

The document has also sparked a row within the NUT, which has dropped its conference's decision to demand an 8 per cent increase plus Pounds 1,500 for every teacher in favour of a united approach. The ATL's expected decision to seek 7.5 per cent is likely to upset the other unions. General secretary Doug McAvoy said: "A single submission would have undermined the authority of a single document . . . representing more than 90 per cent of all teachers. " The NUT executive has also rejected the call for a special salaries conference and will now hold a ballot of all members to reverse these conference decisions.

The Professional Association of Teachers has already called for a 30 per cent rise in pay over five years.

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