Government the and the Joint Unions return to the negotiating table on Monday. As we've reported the government wants to save 80 million dollars in next year's budget by cutting salaries and freezing increments. The union came up with an 8 page counter proposal outlining other ways multi million dollar savings can be realised without touching their earnings.

But, after a lukewarm response in writing from the government, the joint unions have concluded that government has rejected its proposals.

So what happens next? Well both sides were to meet today for government to better explain why the proposals still don't come anywhere close to realising the 80 million dollars in savings. But the meeting has been put off to Monday. Today, speaking with the media via Zoom, the PSU's first vice president Dean Flowers told us that government gave the unions an impossible task to find 80 million dollars in savings:

Dean Flowers, First Vice President, PSU
"Just the thought of somebody saying to you go and find me 80 million dollars in 2 weeks, is really leaves a lot to be desired. Nobody has that magic wand to be able to shade 60 million dollars off the wage bill to bridge a deficit of 500 million dollars. We simply cannot identify and our suggestions as noble as they were, were rejected and rejected in some cases nicely rejected by stating that - we believe of course that one-one mango full the basket, but they don't believe that and so they are saying everything has to come from you. Public officers will be appraised one more time in the coming week after we meet with government and hear what they have to say and thereafter the joint unions will have to huddle with their amounts and with their executive and we will have to then... the choice are few; you accept it, you reject it and you resist it and you see how long we can hold back. Those are limited options. You either accept it or resist it."

"I keep saying to them we're in consultation and until the government acts and violate your terms and conditions of service then that is the grounds that would then empower us to move in any direction that you so proposed that would entail possible industrial actions or whatever. But until such time calm heads must prevail, there is no need for us to jump the gun and declare a trade dispute, because there is none and we have to be civil about this matter because a lot of angry people are out there inside and outside of the union and civil unrest will not benefit this country."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"The fact is that while you may wish to enter some type of arbitration, there is only 2 weeks and the budget has to be presented. It was already pushed back 2 weeks, so the window of time is not realistic for continued negotiations. Its either you take it or you leave it."

Dean Flowers, First Vice President, PSU
"Unanimously it's a no. But in terms of what action should we take there were 2-3 options on the table and now that has been narrowed down to about 1 or 2 which is line with resisting this and resisting it at all cost. We have taken the time to explain to our members all the possible outcomes and consequences of this and for them to use this weekend to think about it, to consider all the consequences that could come out of a resistance if the government should proceed."

And they will get a better sense of how far government is willing to go on Monday when both sides meet to come to a clear understanding of the current position. Flowers told us more:

Dean Flowers, First Vice President, PSU
"They said to us that what they want to do is to comprehensively and better explain their response, so perhaps our comprehension of their response is limited. Remember our talent has already been questioned and so perhaps the meeting therefore on Monday is to break it down further to us in small change so that something different from what we have comprehended from the letter will come out of the meeting."

Channel 7