A nationwide strike by crane operators is set to proceed on Friday, the Unite trade union has confirmed.

However there are hopes that the Workplace Relations Commission may invite both sides to talks in a bid to resolve the dispute over a pay claim.

So far the WRC has not issued any such invitation - but both Unite and the Construction Industry Federation have said they are prepared to attend talks.

The CIF has said Unite would have to suspend its industrial action, and the talks would have to include all interested parties, including SIPTU - who traditionally represented crane operators.

Unite has said it is prepared to suspend its industrial action from Monday for a week to permit talks.

There are doubts about whether SIPTU would be prepared to attend talks before the Irish Congress of Trade Inions releases the outcome of its investigation into a SIPTU complaint relating to alleging poaching of members by Unite.

Unite Regional Secretary Tom Fitzgerald said Friday's industrial action would involve a protest at CIF headquarters in Dublin.

Pickets would not be placed on building sites, so other construction workers will be able to attend work.