Unions will hold minister to his pay promise
Education Minister Joe McHugh is heading into his first teacher conferences facing demands from unions to deliver on his promise to end two-tier pay scales that were imposed after the economy crashed.
Intensive discussions involving the Department of Public Expenditure have been continuing in the run-up to the conferences.
The unions have warned of ballots on industrial action if pay equality is not restored.
Recent comments made by Mr McHugh that the pay issue represents "unfinished business" have given the unions some comfort.
But they will be expecting further positive indications about a resolution when he visits the conferences.
The minister will address both the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) tomorrow, followed by the Teachers' Union of Ireland on Wednesday.
An INTO spokesperson said the union remained committed to a ballot on industrial action in the event that the ongoing engagement with Government failed to deliver a pathway to pay equality.
While much progress has been made in closing the gap between pre-2011 and post-2011 recruits, outstanding issues include the restoration of an allowance for those with a Master's teaching qualification and the point at which a teacher starts on the salary scale.
Separately, ASTI is seeking restoration of all losses sustained by members as result of an increments freeze in 2016/17, during industrial action over junior cycle reforms.
It follows the Government's decision not to subject nurses to similar penalties as a result of their recent three days' of strike action.