Talks on a new pay deal for childcare workers - where SIPTU sought a €2 an hour increase for employees - were held today but adjourned without agreement.

The trade union has proposed that the minimum hourly wage rate for employees in early years education be raised from €13 to €15.

However, childcare providers have warned that they may have to increase fees for parents to cover pay rises that go beyond the rate of inflation.

Unions and employer groups - who are members of a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) - met today to discuss a review of the Employment Regulation Order (ERO) for the childcare sector.

Both sides are due to hold further talks in the coming weeks.

The Ibec group that represents providers, Childhood Services Ireland, described the proposed increase as "wholly unaffordable".

Last year, providers agreed to freeze their fees to avail of a new €221 million "core funding" scheme from the Government.

Employers say the pay increases being sought by SIPTU would go beyond the State funding available to providers but the union insists that the significant core funding investment from the Government provides the capacity to improve wages.

Speaking after the conclusion of today's talks, SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigning Darragh O'Connor said there is pressure on everybody to conclude a pay deal.

"We have to see some real leadership. We have to get into the nuts and bolts of what the next pay deal will look like.

"If those talks break down, we'll have to go to the Labour Court and consider other actions.

"If I was an employer I wouldn't be worried about a strike, I'd be worried about the fact that if there is no pay deal, there will be nobody left working in the sector," Mr O'Connor added.