Both sides in the electricians' dispute have agreed to attend talks at the Labour Relations Commission tomorrow morning.

It is understood that LRC Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey is returning to Dublin from Tralee, where he was attending the ICTU conference.

The strike by electricians is in its second day with pickets mounted on building sites around the country. Picketing will continue as talks proceed with the LRC

Electricians belonging to the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union are seeking an 11% pay increase, which has been due for a number of years.

Electrical contractors are looking for a 10% pay cut.

The Construction Industry Federation earlier warned that several large companies may have to lay off workers because of the nationwide strike.

On RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said the dispute was causing untold damage.

Describing the strike as an ugly escalation, he said 'we cannot let the lunatics be in charge'.

ICTU General Secretary David Begg sharply criticised Mr Parlon for his comments.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six-One News, he said Mr Parlon should take a 'vow of Trappist silence' and refrain from such intemperate language.

In the Dáil, the Taoiseach warned that the dispute is potentially damaging to Ireland's reputation overseas.

Brian Cowen appealed to both sides to use the industrial relations machinery in order to resolve the issue.

Over 10,000 electricians are taking part in the action, which they have described as 'a major success'.

Meanwhile, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has cleared the way for unions representing employees working alongside electricians to ballot for an all-out strike.

At a meeting this evening, a group of officials from other construction and manufacturing unions met.

There is strong support from the other unions, it is thought to be due to the fear that if the employers succeed in the electricians' dispute, it will trigger further cuts in pay and conditions across the economy.

The union had sought an all-out picket from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, but that request could take some weeks to be processed.

Manufacturing sector affected by strike

The strike is having a significant affect on the manufacturing sector.

Diageo, which makes Guinness, was yesterday granted a temporary injunction restraining the TEEU from picketing its Dublin brewery.Guinness - St James's Gate

The company told the High Court that production of Guinness was under threat, and as a consequence it may have to lay off a significant number of staff.

Cadbury was granted a similar injunction today, which prevents picketing outside its Coolock plant.

The chocolate manufacturer sought the injunction in the High Court after claiming the picket, placed yesterday morning, was having a 'catastrophic' effect on production at the plant.