South Dublin County Council has described the planned escalation of an industrial dispute by the IMPACT trade union as a "clear breach of the Haddington Road Agreement".

The council issued a statement following news that union members will stage two one-day strikes later this month.

The local authority said the dispute centered on ten staff at senior management level, who had acting or project allowances removed, because the justification for these temporary allowances no longer existed.

It said this was part of a national work force planning exercise being carried out within all local authorities, which it said would lead to the filling of vacancies through internal competition where they are justified and necessary, and the consequent removal of ad-hoc acting arrangements.

The council said management had referred the matter to the Labour Relations Commission, in an effort to enter into meaningful negotiations, but had been notified that the union had refused to attend.

However, in a statement yesterday an IMPACT spokesperson said the union had repeatedly told management at the council that it was willing to deal with the issue through established procedures, and that it just wanted a fair process to do this.

The union said that council management had cut the pay of 13 of its staff last month, and revealed plans to do the same to another 150 workers.

The union said the staff earmarked for further pay cuts had been carrying out extra work with additional responsibilities, some of them for as long as 12 years.  

A spokesperson for the IMPACT trade union rejected the suggestion that the escalation of the dispute was a breach of the Haddington Road Agreement.

The spokesperson said the issue was outside of that agreement.