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Teachers offered big raise to settle bitter pay dispute

Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS

NSW teachers could soon join Australia's best paid after the state government and union struck an in-principle deal for a significant wage hike.

Following an increasingly bitter pay dispute, the NSW Teachers Federation is recommending members accept an offer including a major first-year pay bump.

All teachers will get an initial pay increase of up to $10,000 per year under the proposed deal, which will be put to the union's state council on Saturday.

From October, the starting salary for first-year teachers will go from $75,791 to $85,000 - an increase of more than 12 per cent.

Salaries for teachers at the top of the scale will rise from $113,042 to $122,100, an eight per cent increase.

Casual teacher and school counsellor rates will also be lifted, while a controversial 2.5 per cent cap on pay rises in the subsequent three years of a four-year agreement has been shelved.

Union leaders will recommend the state council endorse the deal at the upcoming meeting.

NSW Teachers Federation acting president Henry Rajendra said the proposed increase was "once-in-a-generation" with children the ultimate beneficiaries if approved.

"The teacher shortage is a crisis that brewed for 12 long years, it can only be tackled by paying teachers what they are worth," he said.

"We will attract and retain more hardworking teachers and prevent them drifting to other professions or states."

Catholic school teachers can also expect a pay rise, as an interim settlement between the Independent Education Union and NSW dioceses binds the latter to pass on salary increases for teachers in the public system.

The union's NSW branch secretary Mark Northam said the flagged pay increases were unprecedented and would help to rebuild the profession.

If the latest offer is accepted, public school teachers' award will be varied and extended until October 2024, while negotiations will continue on pay increases for later years.

Mr Rajendra said the union would take into account the state of the economy and gather information from its members in the lead-up to further negotiations on the award next September.

Education Minister Prue Car said the deal would mean the state's teachers went from being among the country's worst-paid classroom leaders to its best-paid.

She was hopeful the deal would be accepted so teachers could start to see more money in their pay packets.

But Opposition Leader Mark Speakman accused the government of "caving under union pressure" and agreeing to a deal that would send the state budget into further crisis.

He said the government was yet to reveal where cuts would be made in order to fund the pay increase.

Talks will continue on what pay increases teachers can expect for the remainder of the four-year period after the government walked back its 2.5 per cent offer.

The union effectively rejected being locked into the figure, which it argued mirrored the former coalition government's public-sector wage cap and would again lead to worsening teacher shortages.