The government would not dock public sector workers' pay if they limit planned industrial action over pension reform on November 30 to 15 minutes, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said in a Financial Times interview published on Friday.
Unions are locked in battle with the Conservative-led coalition over government plans to implement cost-cutting reforms to pensions at a time when ministers are cutting hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs and freezing pay.
Britain's biggest public sector Unison, one of more than a dozen unions in the dispute, voted last week in favour of a 24-hour strike at the end of November. Smaller unions are expected to join action which could involve up to two million workers.
We're willing to accommodate some kind of token action, said Maude, one of the government's main negotiators with the unions on pension reform.
I can't imagine any employer in the public sector would say if you have a token strike of a quarter of an hour during the day which doesn't affect public services, you lose a day's pay.
In Britain, workers stand to forfeit their pay for the length of a strike.
The coalition government, which has criticised the move to strike while negotiations are still ongoing, offered a revised pension deal to workers last week but failed to persuade unions to call off the threat of industrial action.
The coalition's cost-saving plans include making public sector workers pay more into their pensions and work for longer. Ministers have offered to protect staff currently close to retirement and to not seek further reform for the next 25 years.
There's a long way to go in these discussions, Maude said.
(Reporting by Matt Falloon)