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Performance-related pay opposed

Few public sector workers believe their pay should be linked to performance despite Government moves to press ahead with the controversial policy, according to new research.

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that only one in three workers in public sector organisations was in favour of salary reflecting performance.

The report comes the day after the Government confirmed that teachers' pay in England and Wales will be linked to their performance from this autumn.

Under the controversial plans schools will be allowed to decide on salary levels, with teachers given an annual appraisal. There will still be a minimum and a maximum level a classroom teacher can be paid, but it means an end to automatic annual pay rises.

The plans, revealed by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement in December, are effectively an almost complete deregulation of teachers' pay, and a move away from national pay structures.

Teaching unions have previously vowed to campaign against any attempt to remove national pay structures, and the plans are likely to be a key issue at their Easter conferences this year.

The CIPD survey of 3,000 workers found a big difference between public and private sector workers on what should drive pay rises. Private sector workers believed that those in the public sector should be paid according to performance. Just over half of public sector employees felt their pay should reflect inflation.

Charles Cotton of the CIPD said: "Establishing a closer link between pay and performance in the public sector is a key element to improving service delivery and value for taxpayers.

"Unless the public sector starts linking pay to performance or better engages with those in the private sector about why their taxes should reward public sector workers differently, public sector employers could find it hard to legitimise pay decisions in the eyes of the private sector.

"However, linking pay to performance does not come without its management challenges. It's encouraging to see that there is some appetite in the public sector for performance-related pay, with one in three workers agreeing that their salary should reflect their performance, but if performance-related pay is introduced, public sector managers will undoubtedly find it challenging to retain levels of motivation and engagement amongst those who think other factors should determine their pay."