The unions and the government are in dispute about how many civil servants went on strike
1 December 2011 Last updated at 04:28
The government and the unions are to attempt to resolve the dispute about changes to public sector pensions, which led to a widespread strike.
The main teaching unions will hold talks with the government on Thursday, while the health service unions will hold similar talks on Friday.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said ministers are prepared to alter what is currently being offered.
Unions say more than two million workers took part in the strike.
David Cameron described the walkout by public sector workers on Wednesday as a “damp squib”, saying it failed to cause the level of disruption expected.
Unions oppose plans to make members pay more and work longer to earn pensions.
The BBC’s political correspondent, Iain Watson, says the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is hoping that the basis of a deal might be in place by early next year.
The government has said it will be flexible and look at legitimate concerns over the phasing in of the changes, our correspondent added.
Public services are now beginning to get back to normal after the biggest one-day strike since 1979.
The London Ambulance Service says it has resumed normal operations after it had to call in the police when it came under severe pressure during the strike.
At one point, during a surge in demand, only a half of the service’s vehicles were staffed and 100 people were waiting for an ambulance.
About two-thirds of state schools shut and thousands of hospital operations were postponed as a result of the industrial action, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) calling it “the biggest strike in a generation”.
But ministers disputed the number of those who actually went on strike, putting it nearer to 1.2 million.
Mr Maude said the government’s “rigorous contingency planning” had “significantly” limited the impact of the strikes.
“[The] strike was inappropriate, untimely and irresponsible, especially while talks are continuing,” Mr Maude said. “Responsibility for any disruption lies squarely with union leaders.
“We now know that in the health service only approximately 79,000 staff have not been at work, which means that 85.5% of staff in NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, Ambulance Services and NHS Direct actually turned up.”
He also said that the county’s border controls had operated “effectively with minimal disruption to those travelling”.
The Cabinet Office said that “significantly less than a third” of civil servants – 146,256 out of a total of 489,000 – took part in strike action.
But the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark Serwotka, accused the government of lying about the number of civil servants who went on strike.
“The idea they could get that figure [of 146,256] within five hours is laughable,” he said.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said the government had put the public sector “under attack” and that the strike was fully justified.
“There comes a time when people really have to stand up and make a stand,” he told ITV.
“With the scale of change the government are trying to force through, making people work much, much longer and get much, much less, that’s the call people have made.”
Neil Clarke, a union organiser with Unite, said: “The government is attacking our pension schemes. They are looking for public sector workers to contribute more, work longer and receive less in pension benefits.
“The average public sector pension comes in at £3,000 a year. Could you live on £3,000 a year?”
As hundreds of rallies were held in cities and towns across the UK on Wednesday, the TUC estimated that 30,000 protesters had turned out in Birmingham and some 25,000 in London.