The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is to mount a "vigorous and robust" campaign aimed at the repeal of emergency Government legislation permitting public service pay cuts.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act came into force from last Monday.

Under the legislation, Government employees who do not sign up the Haddington Road Agreement will be subject to the legislation which permits pay cuts and a three year increment freeze.

It also gives the government wide-ranging powers to alter the terms and conditions of employees without negotiations.

Delegates at the ICTU conference in Belfast unanimously passed a motion calling for unions to campaign against the legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.

The motion states that the so-called FEMPI legislation undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and expresses concern that it may set a precedent for the ;private sector.

It also describes the powers given to Government ministers to unilaterally change terms and conditions of employment as extraordinary.

The motion also notes that there is no specified date for the emergency legislation to be repealed, and that the legislation was introduced on the centenary of the 1913 lockout.

Most unions have already accepted the Haddington Road Agreement.