Some allowances are on the table for cuts in talks on a new Croke Park deal.
But a civil service union warned of "major difficulties" in striking any new deal.
Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin said the Government is looking at all mechanisms that are seen as best practice in the private sector in the negotiations, including shared services, procurement, overtime, premium pay and changes to the working week.
However, The Civil and Public Service Union said it would be unwise for the Government to presume on agreement from low to middle income workers.
Mr Howlin confirmed the Government regarded some allowances are part of core pay and need to be protected – but others are not.
The talks on what Mr Howlin called a "Croke Park extension" will begin next Wednesday.
The minister said the unions know the desperate state the country is in. "We've explained it. We need to explain it again to the broad membership," he said.
He added that the Government was not looking to collapse the current agreement.
The ICTU Public Services Committee (PSC) met yesterday to consider Mr Howlin's invitation to enter discussions.
The PSC, which is made up of all ICTU-affiliated unions with members working in the public services, agreed to meet representatives of public service management next week for an initial discussion.