Around 70,000 public sector workers who are members of the country's largest trade union SIPTU have backed the new pay agreement.

SIPTU had encouraged its members to support the pay deal in June and today it confirmed that 76% of its members had accepted the agreement. 24% voted against.

The pay agreement will cost €880m over three years and will reverse some of the pay cuts imposed after the economic crash.

It will also improve pension entitlements for newer recruits to the public service.

The support of SIPTU members and the backing of Impact, which has already for acceptance of the deal, means that the agreement is near a majority of support among the public service unions.

A ballot of members of the Civil Public and Services Union on the new public service pay agreement is due to get under way later this month.

The CPSU, which represents around 10,000 lower paid civil servants, has also recommended acceptance of the new pay deal.

The Prison Officers' Association has already decided to recommend the deal while the Executive of the Irish Federation of University Teachers has also voted to recommend acceptance of the proposals.

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants also voted for the agreement.

However, in a setback to supporters of the agreement, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation last month overwhelmingly rejected the new deal.

It said it failed to eliminate the two tier pay system that remunerates newer recruits hired since 2012.