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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Teachers split over 3-year pay deal


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LONDON (Reuters) - Teachers were divided over a three-year pay deal announced by the government on Tuesday, with some saying it would worsen recruitment problems to the profession while others welcomed it.

Salaries will rise by 2.45 percent from September 2008 and by 2.3 percent from September 2009 and 2010, schools secretary Ed Balls said in a statement.

The 2.45 percent rise is higher than government's targeted Consumer Prices Index inflation rate of about 2 percent, although it is lower than the Retail Price Index -- at present 4 percent -- on which most private sector pay deals are based.

The National Union of Teachers criticised the announcement, saying many of its members would be worse off.

But the NASUWT union and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the award meant teachers had done better than other public sector workers.

The head teachers' union, the Association of School and College Leaders said it had already approved the deal.

The 2009 and 2010 pay awards -- recommended by the School Teachers' Review Body -- will be subject to a review of recruitment data and economic conditions but Balls said he did not expect the awards to change.

"I very much welcome the framework of predictability that these three-year recommendations will give, which will assist long-term strategic decision-making by local authorities and schools," Balls said.

"I believe this pay award, the first of the government's three-year, forward-looking, public sector pay awards, is fair for teachers and affordable for schools," he argued.

But National Union of Teachers General Secretary, Steve Sinnott, said: "this pay settlement of 2.45 percent for 2008 is well below the rate of inflation of 4 percent, which was also announced today.

"This will reduce the standard of living for teachers and exacerbate the problems of recruitment and retention.

"Teachers have to pay increases in the cost of housing, fuel and food. This settlement is in effect a pay cut."

(Reporting by Katherine Baldwin, Andrew Hough and Tim Castle; Editing by Steve Addison)

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