The country's largest teachers’ union claims pay parity for teachers is finally in sight, as the issue dominates this week's teachers' union conferences.
Teachers who entered the profession between 2011 and 2014 have been on lower rates of pay than their colleagues due to cuts during the recession.
The INTO says the Government has acknowledged the need to resolve pay inequality by way of a pay review process.
Minister Joe McHugh told primary school teachers at the INTO conference in Galway this morning that the issue of pay is 'unfinished business'.
However, he made no promises that pay equality would be achieved, adding that he can't commit to a timeline to end the inequality.
He said: "I have no way of predetermining of what the outcome will be - but I think it's about committing the fact that this is a difficulty.
"I've said all along that this is unfinished business - I mean that. I'm hearing the calls and cries from the younger teachers."
Education Minister Joe McHugh meets with teachers who have lined the halls of the #INTOCongress19 holding placards with the names of their colleagues who are working abroad for better pay and conditions. pic.twitter.com/7POIVT0s5X
— Kacey O'Riordan (@KaceyORiordan) April 23, 2019
INTO General Secretary Designate John Boyle said that a "process has been agreed" with the Government that will finally set a pathway towards pay equality.
He said: "This process, which takes the form of a statement of intent by government, acknowledges the need to find a resolution on pay equality and other outstanding pay issues by way of a pay review process or in the context of the next public sector pay talks.
“INTO is confident that [the] announcement provides a pathway to pay equality which will deliver for our 2011 to 2014 cohorts, while enabling us to focus on other outstanding pay issues including a now twelve-year-old principals' pay award and a general pay rise for teachers who have not received a pay rise since 2007.”
Mr Boyle added that he expects the talks to begin next year.
He added that he's confident the union will be able to negotiate a resolution in the next public pay deal.
The ASTI and TUI are also meeting for their annual conferences this week.
Pay restoration is also a key focus for those two unions.
President of the ASTI, Breda Lynch, explained there are a number of issues which delegates will debate over the course of their meeting.
She explained: "Obviously pay equality is still top of our agenda.
"There are [also] a lot of issues around curriculum reform; issues around special education needs; and there are issues around teachers' workload and wellbeing."
ASTI members are meeting in Wexford, while TUI delegates are gathering in Killarney.