Talks will be held today to try to resolve the bitter dispute over public sector pensions, as time runs out to reach a deal to avert further strikes.
Ministers have turned up the pressure on the unions to reach an outline agreement by today on the schemes covering local government workers, NHS staff, civil servants and teachers.
One union source said a deal covering town hall staff looked close, but ministers were adopting a "divide and rule" approach in the hope of isolating the more hardline trade unions.
Talks with the teachers and NHS workers are understood to be making progress, but there is still deadlock in the Civil Service.
Tomorrow is the final day that Parliament will be sitting before January and Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has told the unions he wants a deal by then.