Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, warned that his members would boycott the new appraisal arrangements if they are imposed against their will: "The Government seeks to have in place from September 1999 an appraisal system in which the purposes are entirely different from the existing scheme, which is based upon professional development.
"From 2000 it would provide a link between appraisal and payment by results. That is totally unacceptable and will be resisted by this union."
The other unions, which had tried to respond positively to the Green Paper, now say they have been alienated by the document setting out its technical details.
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers supports rewarding good classroom practice, but objects to those who go to a higher pay scale having to sign a separate contract and take on extra responsibilities.
Nigel de Gruchy, NASUWT general secretary, said he wanted to participate constructively, but was concerned the consultation is becoming a sham. He said he would defend his members against "the totally unmanageable impositions which seem to be emerging from the Green and technical papers", and would resort to direct action if necessary.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers and headteacher unions believe the appraisal proposals are byzantine and unworkable. ATL general secretary Peter Smith said: "Appraisal can only work through consensus.You cannot bully-boy performance management."
Doug McAvoy, 18