The Labour Relations Commission has been asked to intervene after pay talks at Allied Irish Banks broke down.
Union chiefs believe bank management are sympathetic to their cause, but have suggested the negotiations are complicated by the fact that the bank is state-owned and any deal is subject to political approval.
It comes as a survey of 1,700 of the bank’s staff found that 60pc ranked the issue of wage increases as very important.
The issue was referred to Kevin Foley, director of conciliation, workplace mediations and early resolution services with the Labour Relations Commission just over a week ago.
The Irish Bank Officials Association union has launched a poster campaign among its members in AIB dubbed ‘It’s Time’ to push for the pay rises.
“Other parties have to be consulted other than the two principles,” an IBOA spokesman said.
“It’s hard to determine precisely where the particular hold up is. An additional factor has been the departure of the chief executive, which has also created a hiatus in the process.
“WE would be hopeful that some kind of proposal is possible through the LRC.”
Union bosses say members are looking for more than just a flat percentage pay increase, but also a recognition that the restructuring of AIB has led staff to take on new roles and responsibilities.
“What we’re looing at is a recognition of the new realties in the bank in terms of the job that people are now doing, “ the IBOA spokesman added.
Meanwhile, an internal survey of 1,700 members in AIB found that 60pc concluded the issue of a pay increase was highly important, with a further 27pc stating that it was important.
Some 44pc said it very important to have the existing allowances improved, while 49pc believe restoring allowanes that have been withdrawn is also iof high importance.
The union is hopeful of a resolution through the LRC by the end of JUne.
“While we recognise there is a deadlock, I don’t think anyone on either side would feel that the situation has broken down irretrievably,” the spokesman added.
“The relationship between the two sides has been constructive.”
In March, AIB announced a pre-tax profit of €1.1bn, its first full year profit since 2008.
In a statement, AIB said the bank has been in discussion with the IBOA on a number of matters, including pay.
"Both sides have now agreed to seek the assistance of the LRC," the bank said.
"As part of these discussions, a number of items have to be taken into account, including the bank’s operating performance and the ability to generate returns on the capital invested by the Irish taxpayer. AIB approaches engagement on all of these of matters in a spirit of co-operation with our unions."