The Government has confirmed that it has invited the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to re-engage in talks on an economic recovery plan.

IMPACT General Secretary Peter McLoone said the Government had written to union leaders earlier today.

The General Purposes Committee of ICTU will meet to consider the letter in detail later this afternoon.

ICTU General Secretary David Begg has welcomed the letter from the Taoiseach.

Employers' group IBEC has confirmed that the Government has also issued an invitation to them to take part in the talks.

IMPACT's Executive council met today to decide its position following the union's failure to endorse participation in next Monday's national strike.

Although 65% of those balloted voted in favour of taking part, under IMPACT's rule 66% support was needed.

Mr McLoone said the union accepted that they cannot instruct members to take industrial action or refuse to cross picket lines on Monday.

He anticipates that many members would be reluctant to cross picket lines.

Mr McLoone added that while the union cannot sanction industrial action, it is committed to protecting those members who refuse to cross picket lines from any threatened management sanctions.

The ballot was a setback to ICTU's campaign of opposition to the Government's handling of the economy and the refusal of some employers to pay the national wage increase.

Other unions have been serving notice of industrial action, including SIPTU workers at the country's three main airports.