Primary school teachers are expected to reject the draft public service pay agreement in a ballot due to be completed today, in what would be a significant blow to the Government.

The executive of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) – the country’s largest teaching union – has urged its members to oppose the deal on the basis that it did not progress the issue of pay equality between established teachers and new entrants.

Sources close to the 36,000-strong union believe members are likely to reject the proposed agreement, which was negotiated last month between the Government and the public service trade union movement.

The counting of ballots is scheduled to be completed this evening or tomorrow morning.

Last week, senior State employees in the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants became the first group to back the proposed new agreement in a ballot.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, about 250,000 State employees will receive pay improvements of between 6.2 per cent and 7.4 per cent over three years

A further 50,000 civil and public service staff recruited since 2013 and who have a less generous pension scheme will receive pay improvements of 7 per cent and 10 per cent over the same period.

The deal sets out that there will be an assessment of the overall pay equality issue over a 12-month period from next January.