The government's plans to scale back the terms of civil service redundancies met a snag today, with the biggest of the unions involved refusing to back down in the dispute.
Ministers' latest offer was rejected by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), but supposedly backed by the five other unions affected. All six need to agree before any change to terms and conditions can be made.
The government's portrayal of PCS being the only roadblock has however been undermined by other unions claiming they are only considering the offer.
Civil service redundancy schemes are particularly generous, with those laid off granted six years salary. As part of the drive to make savings, the government wishes to reduce this to 21 months.
It is not the first time reform has been attempted. Labour also tried to reach a deal but the PCS mounted a successful legal challenge to kill off the proposed changes.