Up to a quarter of a million public sector workers are to stage a 24-hour strike in Ireland today.
The workers, including firefighters, prison guards, civil servants, some medical staff and teachers, are protesting at government plans to cut the public sector pay bill by €1.3bn next year.
Unions have called for a more gradual reform lasting until 2017, saying that the government should start by levying higher taxes on top earners, instead of cutting spending, according to Reuters.
The government said it would talk to the unions but was determined to cut spending.
Finance minister Brian Lenihan said: “We are in discussions to see if we can secure an agreement. That said, we will take the necessary actions if we have to take them.”