The Tanaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is rejecting suggestions that the coalition will be damaged, after unions voted down the Croke Park 2 proposals.
Gilmore has opened up the possibility that Minister Brendan Howlin won't follow through with his threat to legislate for pay cuts without agreement.
The public services committee of Congress meets to vote on the deal later today. but the result will be rejection after SIPTU's decision to say no yesterday.
This morning, the Tánaiste insisted the coalition needed time to consider the rejection.
Eamon Gilmore repeatedly insisted the ballot doesn't change the reality that €300m in savings are required this year.
But when asked if the Public Expenditure Minister would now follow through with his threat to impose a 7% pay cut across the board through legislation, Mr Gilmore suggested that wouldn't happen immediately.
"I think ti's too early to be speculating on specific options," he said.
And he rejected suggestions that the coalition was damaged as a result of this defeat:
"Not at all. Pay agreements have been put on the table and rejected before, there's nothing particularly exceptional about that."
Union bosses too will have to outline their positions - many already saying a wave of strikes will happen if anything is imposed.