Teachers' conference are taking place this week

All three teachers unions are expected to join forces for the restoration of pay and are threatening strike action if it’s not achieved.

The Education Minister has stressed 'both sides' will need to take part in any discussions about restoring pay.

The Teachers Union of Ireland and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland have begun their annual conferences today, where pay is set to dominate.

Union members want teachers who qualified after 2011 to be on the same wages as those that qualified before them.

The TUI will decide later whether to join forces with its sister unions the ASTI and the Irish National Teachers Organisation in demanding the restoration of pay for newer teachers.

Last night both the INTO and the ASTI agreed that they would debate the emergency motion calling for talks on pay inequality with a roadmap for when it might be achieved.

The TUI is also discussing the motion, but it already has a mandate from its members for strike action if pay is not restored.

This afternoon all three unions will debate whether to ballot their members on the possibility of coordinating strike action – if the government fails to resolve the issue of pay parity.

The Education Minister Richard Bruton will attend the ASTI conference this afternoon, visiting the TUI tomorrow.

However, speaking at the INTO conference this morning, he said negotiations will be necessary on the subject of pay restoration.

Image: Gail Conway

He observed: "That is showing goodwill on the Government's side.

"Obviously both sides will have to participate in those discussions, and we'll see where that leads."

INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan says they want to get the pay debate off the agenda once and for all: 'If we fail to close out this issue then we will be balloting our members for industrial action, we want to get this off the agenda and move on with other issues in education'.