Carol Paton Editor at Large

As the clock ticks down to April 1, when public-sector pay  increases should be paid, the government and unions held tense talks in the public sector co-ordinating bargaining chamber on Tuesday.

With trade unions resolute before the meeting that they would not agree to a renegotiation of the third year of the pay agreement, the government will probably face the choice of reneging on the agreement or paying up on April 1.

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