The government is said to be looking at improving the offer currently on the table for the reform of public sector pensions by ensuring better accrual rates and raising the limit on state contributions.

With unions set for a nationwide strike at the end of the month, ministers have let it be known that this “enhanced offer” is genuine and union leaders have been attending a meeting at the Cabinet Office with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

The government has insisted that while most public sector workers would pay in more and work for longer, those on low and middle incomes would get a pension as good as or even better than they would get now.

But GMB national secretary Brian Strutton disputed this, pointing out that to get their pensions, employees would have to work eight years longer.

“I’m hoping that what comes forward [from this meeting] is a sign that government is negotiating genuinely,” he told the BBC. “I hope rumours of final positions aren’t true because we will need to examine whatever’s said if we are to give it any sort of chance of working.”