The Minister for Public Expenditure has said the Government wants to deliver a new form of collective agreement to replace the Lansdowne Road deal.
Paschal Donohoe said it was in the country's interests to make this happen.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said he believed the process will begin before the summer - the public service pay commission is due to produce papers in April and May.
Mr Donohoe said negotiations will be on the basis on what is genuinely affordable for the country.
The Minister said changes in the public service in recent years have been essential in maintaining and helping frontline services respond back to the pressures they are under.
He said the Government would outline its agenda, fully and transparently, after the Pay Commission completes its work.
"In terms of broad principles, we will be negotiating on the basis of what is genuinely affordable for our country, for those in the public services and for those who depend on them,” said Mr Donohoe.
"We will outline, in the coming months, our agenda in relation to the future productivity and reform of the public service.
"What continues to be crucial to me is an agreement that is fair and affordable for all, and we'll outline that at an effective point."