The prime minister says government has not made a counter offer to SIPEU log of claims because the Union was not willing to discuss with government "a framework for negotiation."Dr Derek Sikua says the SIPEU executive failed to attend a meeting for all public service unions to meet the government negotiating team in the cabinet conference room last Thursday.
He says the Attorney General had drafted a written Memorandum of Understanding setting out the negotiating process.
Dr Sikua says SIPEU refused to attend the meeting so the parties were unable to conclude the M-O-U.
He says the M-O-U if signed, would have set a clear pathway for the parties to agree on a list of matters for negotiation, including the log of claims of other unions.
He says the M-O-U would have agreed on a time limit for the government to make a counter offer, and to agree on a time limit for the unions to respond to the government's counter offer.
The Prime Minister explains that before government could make a counter offer, it must fully understand the SIPEU log of claims.
SIPEU's President Douglas Ete says this is unprecedented and the Sikua-led government is the only government that has not given the union a counter-offer before referring it to the T-D-P.
Mr Ete says the union now enters arbitration, without a counter offer.
The SIPEU President also says the union wants the Trade Disputes Panel to be specific with preliminary hearing dates to adhere to arbitration purposes.