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Unions set to get tough over pay;News;News amp; Opinion

THE SECOND largest teaching union is facing pressure from members to toughen its stance against Government proposals for performance-related pay.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers is holding a special conference in London on November 27, to consider a report from its leadership on negotiations with ministers over the plans, contained in last summer's Green Paper.

The leaders' report will argue that the Government has made concessions and it will attempt to head off expected calls for a boycott of the reforms, for example not taking part in appraisal nor applying to cross the performance-pay threshold.

Teachers who cross the threshold will receive a pound;2,000 pay rise and move to a performance-related pay scale. Eamonn O'Kane, the NASUWT deputy general secretary, said: "We cannot be seen to be in the position of preventing people from taking the opportunity to earn more money."

A survey of 1,000 teachers, commissioned by the union last month, found that only one in six intended to apply to cross the threshold, although almost three quarters are eligible.

Members attending the conference are expected to be most concerned about the fairness of the performance management frameworks, particularly annual appraisal. Sue Rogers, representative for Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, said:

"Many fear it will lead to them being bullied by their headteachers."

She anticipated the Government would be given a rough ride at the conference. She said 15 teachers in her area had resigned in the past three months. "It's not just a pound of flesh that's expected from us, it's a pint of blood as well.

"However, the Green Paper does offer teachers opportunities and we must not throw everything out."

The NASUWT is working with the Secondary Heads Association to produce a model performance management framework that minimises bureaucracy.

Its campaign calling for a contractual limit on working hours, will also support ballots in schools where teachers feel their workload is unacceptable.

And while the union's leadership does not want to take industrial action, hardliners believe the campaign could be used to boycott appraisal if it seen to be too bureaucratic and time-consuming.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers recently urged its members to adopt a more conciliatory view of the pay plans.

LETTERS OF INTENT

A WAR of words has broken out between ministers and the National Union of Teachers after David Blunkett wrote to every teacher, appealing to them to support performance--

related pay. The union responded with its own

letter attacking the Prime

Minister and urging teachers to resist the proposals.

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, wrote: "You should be proud to be part of the 'forces of conservatism' if that means resisting change which is unproven, or which has proved not

to be in the best interests of teaching and education."

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