SIPTU chief says executive is likely to 'endorse decision to ballot' members on industrial action

ICTU has suggested that SIPTU should defer their deadline for talks by two weeks

SIPTU chief says executive is likely to 'endorse decision to ballot' members on industrial action

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The head of SIPTU has indicated the union is likely to go ahead with its threat to ballot members on industrial action - but will also consider a request to defer a decision.

The union had warned it would step up its efforts to get pay rises for public sector workers, if the Government did not set a timeline for talks by today.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) - the umbrella group which represents unions in both the private and public sector - yesterday proposed giving the Government an extra two weeks to decide on discussions.

The congress suggested that SIPTU should defer their decision in order to coincide with the ICTU one.

SIPTU's executive committee is meeting later to make a final call - but President Jack O'Connor thinks it is unlikely they will change their mind.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr O'Connor said: "I think there will be due consideration of that today, and I think we will arrive at a conclusion that endorses the decision to ballot but respects the request from the officers of [ICTU].

"I think the executive will be honouring its commitment to our members over the bad years - that when things improved, we would support them in action to recover lost ground," he added.

Fianna Fáil's Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath, meanwhile says the Government was never going to react well to threats.

"I think ultimatums are always unhelpful, and I think the Government was never going to react favourably to a public threat in that manner," he argued.

However, he also suggested that "the Government has to accept some responsibility and blame for the lack of engagement to date."