The Tánaiste has said legislation will be drawn up before the end of May that will reverse the cut in the minimum wage.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Eamon Gilmore said the Government is proceeding with reversing the cut, which was introduced in the Budget in December.

Mr Gilmore said advice from the Attorney General is that primary legislation would be needed for the change.

He said the heads of the bill being prepared by Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton will be ready before 31 May.

The Tánaiste said reversing the cut was not conditional on anything.

He was responding to questions from the Opposition who criticised the Government's plans to reform sectoral pay agreements.

Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the changes to the agreements affected 240,000 workers and said it was the price demanded by the International Monetary Fund for the changes to the minimum wage.

Ms McDonald said it was now clear that low paid workers would be the target of the coalition.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the Government had become a ventriloquist dummy for the EU-IMF.

Mr Higgins said other workers will get hammered for the decision to reverse the cut in the minimum wage.

Mr Gilmore said that possible reforms to sectoral pay agreements were 'a separate issue'.

Minister Richard Bruton indicated yesterday that the IMF and EU had approved the Government's approach of reinstating the minimum wage, while focusing on sectoral wage agreements instead.

Mr Burton said the EU/IMF troika recognised that there were 'archaic' measures in place that needed to be modernised.

Responding to the Tánaiste's comments, a spokesperson for Minister Bruton said there were two specific commitments in the Programme for Government: to reverse the cut in the minimum wage and to reform the joint labour committee structures.

He said Minister Bruton is determined that both these commitments are delivered on as soon as possible, in the interests of delivering both a fair and a more competitive labour market.

Business group IBEC said the plan was 'at odds with the economic needs of the country' and would undermine job creation.

It also called for an overhaul of the rules covering regulated wages.