HEALTH workers face substantial cuts to their Sunday payments under proposals put forward by the Government.
Double time for working on a Sunday will be reduced to time-and-a-half as health staff bear the brunt of the €1bn savings being sought.
The Government argues that the current cost of delivering Sunday and public-holiday services is unsustainable.
The negotiations will now centre on a substantial reduction in the pay for Sunday work done by nurses and doctors.
"Management do recognise that Sunday is an important day, and are satisfied that the proposal to reduce the current rate from double time to time and a half is fair and reasonable in the current economic circumstances," a source said.
The management side believes it is still important to recognise that Sunday work is an integral part of the individual's working week in health and can "consist of up to one-third of the total number of hours to be worked in a particular week".
"The challenge is to continue to maximise efficiencies within the available funding," a source said.
Health staff are being asked to make the largest combined contribution of all public servants in the current search for savings.
The target figure is a saving of €420m, as health currently accounts for 40pc of the total payroll cost in the public service.