Work starts today on a new pay deal for around 300 thousand public sector employees.
It had been hoped that the process could be wrapped up in about a fortnight, but factors like the Fine Gael leadership election could push back that timeline.
Representatives of about 25 workers groups will attend the talks which will be chaired by the new head of the Workplace Relations Commission.
The Department of Public Expenditure will lead the management side of the process, while other departments and agencies like the HSE will also be represented.
Key union demands include the rolling back of pay cuts, the scrapping of the public service pension levy and the ending of a requirement for staff to work extra unpaid hours.
Some sectors – like health unions – also want to see special incentives to tackle staff shortages.
For its part, the government’s expected to push for major pension reform, while insisting it wants a collective agreement with the unions.