Public servants may get a bigger pay rise this year as government officials were warned about the cost-of-living crisis at new talks.
Formal discussions began at the Workplace Relations Commission yesterday on a review of the current wage deal.
This came after unions invoked a clause in the Building Momentum agreement allowing it to be reassessed.
It is understood that a higher wage increase or additional payment could be on the cards.
Under the terms of the current deal, public sector workers are due a 1pc increase on October 1.
Sources said the current two-year deal that is due to expire at the end of this year may be extended for an extra year.
Any new pay rises that might be agreed for next year would be included in the October Budget.
The current deal provides for pay hikes worth 3pc over two years at a cost of €960m.
Siptu deputy general secretary, John King, said workers have seen the value of pay increases in the current agreement eroded by cost-of-living increases and this will have to be addressed.
Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said: “These will be difficult negotiations because we have the backdrop of very high levels of inflation that are impacting on peoples’ living standards.
“Renewed global economic uncertainty and many pressures on the expenditure side, mean we have to strike the right balance and achieve a deal that is fair and affordable to both taxpayers generally and the public servants who we employ and who are represented by the unions.”
He previously said the Government is willing to go beyond the terms of the agreement.
A spokesperson at his department said the parties had a constructive engagement. “The department does not intend to comment on the specifics relating to those discussions which are confidential to the parties,” she said.
The talks resume on June 10.
Meanwhile, Fórsa said it has received final confirmation that public servants will have a shorter working week from July 1. Additional hours introduced in the 2013 Haddington Road agreement are being reversed.
A circular for staff says civil servants will work a minimum of 35 hours a week.
Normal attendance will be from 9.12am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9.12am to 5.15pm on Friday, with one hour and 15 minutes for lunch.