Waste management firm Greyhound has defended its record on employment rights following strong criticisms voiced in the Dáil this morning.

Workers are due to start an official strike at the company on Friday.

However, they say they have been denied access to work since last Tuesday for refusing to accept significant pay cuts introduced unilaterally by the company.

Last Tuesday, Greyhound unilaterally introduced a new clocking in system and pay cuts, which SIPTU members refused to accept.

In the Dáil, United Left TD Clare Daly said the pay cuts could cost workers around €250 a week, and accused the company of exploitation, using untrained agency staff and engaging in work practices appropriate for The Sopranos television show.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to contact the National Employment Rights Authority.

In response, Greyhound accused the SIPTU members of refusing to work when the company sought to implement a recent Labour Court recommendation, which found the company's current cost base was unsustainable.

The Labour Court proposed two weeks of talks, but did not indicate a specific scale of pay cuts.

Greyhound said last week's unofficial action by SIPTU had forced it to employ agency staff to maintain bin collections but that all were competent, fully licenced and qualified.

However, SIPTU organiser Henry O'Shea said that the Labour Court recommendation did not sanction specific pay cuts, and nothing had been agreed with the union.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said that NERA and the Labour Relations Commission are monitoring developments closely.

In a statement, the department said they are "available to any party to assist in resolving issues or to deal with particular matters or new information brought to their attention".