The Australian Communications and Media Authority has made a last-minute pay offer to engineers in a bid to stave off a planned stop work today.
The offer is believed to provide better remunerate junior engineers but leave 40 higher-level managers approximately one percent worse off.
"It's a bit of divide and conquer," one source said.
The unions are pushing for a 10.5 percent increase over three years, people familiar with the negotiations said.
Negotiations are likely to continue today and into next week.
The last-minute offer did not prevent planned industrial action.
Engineers have stopped work on projects around the National Broadband Network and digital dividend spectrum auction.
An ACMA spokesman said the department would put in place processes to ensure any ongoing work bans had "minimal disruption" to the projects.
"The ACMA remains hopeful of reaching a resolution and continues to negotiate," the spokesman said.
"The ACMA doesn't consider there will be significant impact to work activities and consumers."
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