Public sector pay talks to resume

Public sector pay talks to resume

Talks between the Government and public sector unions over cutting €1.3bn from the public pay bill were set to resume at Government Buildings this afternoon.

Cabinet met this morning to discuss progress after the talks were adjourned following a 23-hour overnight session.

As the sides prepared to face each other across the negotiating table again, there was little indication as to whether a deal - necessary in order to avert a public sector strike planned for Thursday - was in sight.

Union leaders had this morning indicated that a draft agreement was effectively on the the table, but Government sources behind the scenes insisted that there was still much work to be done.

Unions are pushing for savings to be achieved through enforced unpaid leave among public sector workers, rather than salary cuts, although the projected savings fall short of those required by Government.

Senior figures were reluctant to be drawn on the possibility of a breakthrough.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, speaking as he prepared to leave for a meeting in Brussels, said a "certain proposal" had been submitted by the unions, which was examined by the Government this morning.

"I am sure the Taoiseach will be dealing with that matter in due course."

Minister of State Martin Mansergh meanwhile said he simply didn't know whether or not a deal would be concluded.

"I would be very cautious," he said.

Speaking as he went into the talks, Peter McLoone indicated they were progressing towards a deal.

Mr McLoone said: "A solution is within our grasp."

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