Unions have accused the Government of not being serious about concluding a review of the current public sector pay deal.

The President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said there have not been any talks since 17 June, when the Government said it wanted to review the current agreement.

Union leaders have announced plans for a co-ordinated campaign on pay with the intention to ballot for industrial action in late August.

The Government had offered a 2.5% pay increase this year and a further 2.5% next year, but unions rejected the offer saying it fell far short of inflation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Kevin Callinan said: "I think we can't be accused of rushing defences in relation to this, we've been very patient, but unfortunately our patience has now run out and I think we require a fair deal from this Government."

He said the Government side had said "this is what we're prepared to offer and no further will we go," and as a result, he said, the unions will hold ballots for industrial action and serve notice by the end of September.

Mr Callinan did not say how much of an increase was being sought, but pointed to the increase in the cost of living and inflation, which is now above 9%, and said members want "a fair deal".

He said that "there's no doubt that over a sustained period of time, inflation is not good for the economy, adding that "workers don't cause inflation, they're the victims, workers and their families are the victims of inflation."

He said that the reality for low paid and middle-income workers, including public servants, "is that they are really struggling, really struggling with the cost of living in many guises. And we really need this Government as an employer to respond to that, just as we would expect other employers who can afford to do their bit in relation to this cost-of-living crisis."

Mr Callinan said that unions "will not shirk this if we have to battle in order to protect the living standards of our members."

He added: "We do expect that a chief duty of any government is to maintain and protect and to try to improve the living standards of people. And in this case, we think the Government has more to offer. It can go further in order to deal with this problem."

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation General Secretary Phil Ní Sheadhgha has said INMO members are saying pay awards that were brokered are "null and void" because of the increased cost of living and rising inflation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes, she said that following discussions with members, the INMO will look at its options that includes balloting for industrial action.

"This is not good enough. Our employer has to respond and has to respond promptly because our health services are under such pressure that the last thing we need is people leaving," she added.

Ms Ní Sheadhgha said 2.5% that was agreed to cover 2021 and 2022 "clearly that isn't sufficient" when you the inflation rate is considered.

She said there is a "real problem" with retaining nurses and midwives to continually work in the public sector and this approach by the employer "doesn’t help".

Ms Ní Sheadhgha said the unions are available to attend talks and they have said if there is a change in the Government's position then talks can resume.

"We have told them that our position is fairly simple. The offer that was made is not sufficient. Therefore, it has to be approved upon, and if there is an indication that the terms on which talks resume, well then of course we're interested in talks.

"No trade union goes out of its way to have industrial action for the sake of it, we have industrial action when talks breakdown," said Ms Ní Sheadhgha.