Intensive talks on extending the Croke Park public service agreement are to get underway from tomorrow and will continue over the weekend.

High level talks between small groups of trade union and management representatives have already been taking place for the past month.

They are trying to develop an overall framework for a new deal aimed at reducing the state payroll bill by an additional €1bn over the next three years.

At the same time, discussions have been taking place in individual sectors - including health, justice, education, the civil service and state agencies - on how payroll reductions could be secured.

It is now felt that sufficient progress has been made to move to an intensive phase of negotiations.

Management negotiators will meet tomorrow morning and the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will meet tomorrow afternoon to be updated.

Intensive sectoral discussions will then take place.

Among the measures under consideration are a pay cut for higher paid public servants, longer working hours for no extra pay, as well as cuts in overtime and premium payments.

The Association Garda Sergeants and Inspectors and the Garda Representative Association have already refused to take part in the talks on the basis that they cannot afford cuts in premium payments.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also signalled that members will not countenance any cut whatsoever in their earnings - whether salary, overtime or premium payments.

On Monday evening, the so-called 24/7 Frontline Alliance representing up to 70,000 frontline public servants including nurses, gardaí, fire personnel and emergency services will hold a rally in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght to protest at the impact of proposed cuts on their earnings.

Earlier today, the Garda Representative Association Central Executive Committee passed a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Alan Shatter over the proposed cutbacks.

The Croke Park negotiations are being facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission team of Kieran Mulvey, Kevin Foley and Anna Perry.