Delegates at the Civil Public and Services Union conference in Galway have voted to escalate their industrial action if this weekend’s intensive talks fail to reach a deal on public-sector pay and reform.

However, they rejected a motion calling for a ballot to withdraw from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for failing to give adequate support to low paid workers.

Throughout the day, CPSU delegates voiced their anger about Government pay cuts.

Delegates voted to instruct their executive to explore the possibility of taking legal action against the Department of Finance for breach of contract with their members arising from the recent pay cuts in Budget 2010

They also voted to ban sourcing of temporary staff from anywhere other than the existing civil service pool.

Speakers alleged that management had discussed using people on FÁS ‘back to work schemes’ to fill vacancies in peak seasons.

Speakers said that this would lead to a two-tier system of employment, where permanent clerical staff would be working alongside temporary staff getting paid unemployment benefit plus an allowance.

Members also voted to boycott media outlets that engage in what was described as a media onslaught against public servants.

Earlier, delegates gave a standing ovation to their colleagues in the Passport Office.

Workers in the Passport Office have been at the forefront of the industrial action over pay cuts.

Addressing the conference, General Secretary Blair Horan apologised to members of the public affected by the industrial action.

However, he said he would not apologise to anyone for the legitimate action they were taking.

'We take no pleasure in this industrial action, but we do it out of necessity to protect our already low living standards,' he said.

The dispute has led to a massive backlog of passport applications and created long queues outside the office earlier this week.

Mr Horan said that some members said they should have taken strike action, but he said that would have meant that no-one would have got a passport.

However, he made it clear that the action would continue until they got a settlement in the current talks that would be acceptable to lower paid workers.