Bid to avert Northern Ireland prison staff's strike action
The Prison Service says it is in discussions with the Finance Minister in a bid to stave off industrial action by its officers next week.
The long-running dispute is the result of failures to introduce a 37-hour working week.
These reforms were promised to the Prison Officers' Association (POA) for helping to reduce costs by £52m in 2012.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) said: "Discussions have been taking place in recent months between NIPS and Department of Justice senior managers and the trade unions on a 2016 pay award for prison grades.
"The minister has met the POA and advised them that she is in discussions with her Ministerial colleague, the Finance Minister."
Finlay Spratt from the Prison Officers' Association, said that he had been backed into a corner by management's poor treatment of staff, adding that concerns had "fallen on deaf ears".