THE biggest union for health service workers has told its members it is determined to stay at talks on a new Croke Park deal.
SIPTU, which represents 45,000 staff, said it will remain at the table despite the fact they will shoulder the burden of €1bn cuts to public servants' incomes in the next three years.
The message, sent to staff in support services, the ambulance service, nurses and midwives, says "a massive" 42pc of the €1bn savings needed will be taken from their payroll.
Without a deal, it said the Government had "made it clear" that cuts in pay and pensions could be achieved by introducing legislation similar to the pension levy.
The union's strong endorsement of the need for a national deal comes after gardai, nurses and frontline workers pulled out of the talks, or threatened to do so.
The message from health division organiser Paul Bell said: "SIPTU Health Division is determined to remain at the negotiating table for the purpose of influencing and shaping a balanced, fair and equitable outcome to the negotiations."
There are just over 100,000 staff in the health services, and basic pay accounts for €4.7bn of the pay bill of €7.1bn.
The services must make savings of at least €420m over the next three years, of which €150m must be found this year.