The Labour Relations Commission has been asked to intervene in the dispute between the ESB group of unions and the company over pension-funding guarantees.

The request for the intervention was made by the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte.

There has been no response from either side so far. Industrial action by the unions is due to take place from next week.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has said the ESB has a contingency plan if industrial action takes place.

Responding to the Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary during Leaders’ Questions, the Mr Quinn said negotiations were ongoing and measures would be taken to safeguard supply.

He said he shared the concern of disruption and supply but he said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter while talks were ongoing ESB management and workers.

Mr Quinn said there is a responsibility on unions and the company to put in place contingency plans to deal with any emergency which may arise during an industrial dispute.