Teaching unions split over pay offer

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An improved pay offer to more than 100,000 higher education staff ranging from porters to professors could split unions which have campaigned jointly over the past seven months, it emerged yesterday.

The offer of a 7.3 per cent rise over two years to manual workers and 5.8 per cent for academic staff has met with a mixed response from the eight unions, which staged an unprecedented one-day pay strike last year.

Manual unions - including 5,000 Transport and General Workers Union members - were believed to be happy with their offer but academic union officials had "severe reservations." The unions were consulting members ahead of a joint meeting later this week to decide their next move.