The head of SIPTU says the odds against a new social partnership agreement are considerable.
Speaking ahead of the resumption of talks on a national recovery programme, Jack O'Connor said that unions and the Government have diametrically opposite perspectives on the economic crisis.
O'Connor said all sides will have to know by May 1 if an agreement can be reached.
The SIPTU leader has called for a social dividend in return for trade union co-operation in tackling the economic crisis.
He said that as well as bailing out the banks the Government must also ensure that people have adequate pension cover.