Two-thirds of voters believe that a move to regional pay will make it harder for schools in some areas to attract and keep good teachers.
The government wants to move to regional pay – whereby public sector pay is linked to the local private sector rather than a national pay framework.
The move could mean that as many as six million public sector workers see their pay reduced.
The study, carried out by polling company Survation on behalf of the TUC, also found that 75 per cent of the 1,000 adults polled also want to see an independent economic impact assessment on the possible consequences of regional pay on local communities.
The independent pay review bodies for the various public sector professions, including the School Teachers’ Review Body, have been asked by chancellor George Osborne to look into the idea of regional pay and are due to report later this year.
In his Budget speech earlier this year, Mr Osborne said: “London weighting already exists across the public sector. So we should see what we can do to make our public services more responsive and help our private sector to grow and create jobs in all parts of the country.”
If approved, hit hardest by the move would be teachers in Wales, which has an 18 per cent pay gap between its private and public sectors.
Elsewhere, the pay gap in Yorkshire/Humber and also Scotland is 13.4 per cent. The East of England stands at 13 per cent, Northern Ireland at 12.3 per cent and the North East at 11.7 per cent. The South East by comparison has just a 0.5 per cent gap and London stands at 4.6 per cent.
The TUC has repeatedly called on ministers to shelve the plans and commenting on the study, general secretary Brendan Barber, said: “Nurses’ and teachers’ pay should be set by the job they are doing rather than how wealthy their local area is.
“Paying someone more to save lives or teach a child in a rich area is not only deeply unfair, it also makes no sense at all.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, added: “Only (education secretary) Michael Gove has expressed any support for local pay in teaching. Submissions to the School Teachers’ Review Body show that everyone else consulted – local authorities, headteacher associations, governor associations and all of the teacher unions – oppose the idea.
“This policy would reduce teacher mobility, create shortages in areas of lower pay, hit recruitment and retention, and create needless extra expense and bureaucracy for schools.”