The trade disputes panel, TDP, has ruled in favour of the government, allowing a 21 day period for negotiations, against a 14 day period suggested by the public service union.

The disputes panel also ruled that the appointed teams of the two parties must meet to begin the negotiations within the next seven days.

The trade disputes panel had opened the hearing yesterday morning asking both parties if the matter should enter into arbitration rather than conciliation.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Attorney General Gabriel Suri told the panel that negotiations must first take place before arbitration.

Mr Suri says the government feels that SIPEU's log of claims needs to be properly assessed so that issues are much more focused.

He says the government also feels that options for negotiations have not been fully exhausted.

He says the government has drawn up a reasonable time-frame of 21 days to complete proposed negotiations.

After failing to secure arbitration in round one, SIPEU General Secretary Paul Belande asked the panel to consider a two week negotiation period instead.

Mr Belande says the union's log of claims is well-presented, well-documented and well-researched and it does not take 21 days to read a 6 page document.

The trade disputes panel however ruled that the government and SIPEU must begin negotiations within the next seven days and have 21 days to come to a conclusion.

The Panel also ordered that any outcome must be reported back to the panel.