The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said that the Government's recent public sector pay offer could not credibly be put to ballot while low and middle-income workers struggle with soaring prices.

A meeting of ICTU's Public Services Committee has backed the union negotiators’ view that an improved offer was needed to make further talks on public service pay worthwhile.

In a letter to the Workplace Relations Commission’s (WRC) director general Liam Kelly, ICTU President Kevin Callinan said public service unions had expected an improved Government pay offer to be made following the Tánaiste's comments on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland last Wednesday.

Leo Varadkar said the Government wanted to reengage in the WRC-brokered talks, and that it was prepared to make "a further offer."

"Despite helpful informal contacts with the WRC, we've received no indication that Department of Public Expenditure and Reform officials have been sanctioned to make an improved offer," Mr Callinan said.

"Rather, DPER officials had informed the WRC that the Government needed more time to reflect on its position."

Public sector pay talks at the Workplace Relations Commission ended without agreement in the early hours of Friday 17 June.

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

The Government has pointed out however that the 5% pay rise offered to unions comes on top of a 2% increase already provided for in the existing public sector pay deal 'Building Momentum'.