Public sector pay talks are due to resume today at the Workplace Relations Commission.
Talks ended without agreement in June after unions and staff associations rejected a 5% pay increase over two years saying it fell far short of inflation.
The Government defended the offer saying that the increases would come on top of a 2% rise already in place under the existing public sector pay agreement, delivering a cumulative increase of 7% and bringing the total cost of the pay deal to €2.3 billion.
Ahead of the resumption of the pay talks, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath called for flexibility on both sides.
“The Government is prepared to make a revised offer but it does take us to the limit of what we can do in the context of Budget 2023,” Mr McGrath said.
Unions have said that the Government must “significantly improve” its pay offer to prevent industrial action ballots next month.
President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Kevin Callinan said they would be flexible and would engage positively but added that the Government’s position in June had not reflected the reality of the cost-of-living crisis.
“The Government side has taken over two months to reflect on its position,” Mr Callinan said.
“Increased and sustained inflation during that period has not made it easier to reach an outcome that unions can credibly put to ballots of workers struggling with soaring increases in the cost of fuel, food, housing, childcare, and many other essentials.”
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors will also attend today’s pay talks.
“AGSI members will meet in Athlone in three weeks to discuss what our next steps will be if we do not agree on a new pay deal,” said AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham.
“It is hugely important that we reach a deal at the WRC or else face a winter of discontent.”