ESB Networks' technicians belonging to the Independent Workers Union have returned to work following a two-day strike but are resuming a work-to-rule and overtime ban.

Following a meeting of the IWU strike committee last night, no further strike days have been scheduled for the moment.

However, it is understood the union is taking legal advice on how best to pursue its dispute, which members say centres on the refusal of the company to consult adequately with them on the outsourcing of certain work.

The company said the impact on customers from the industrial action had been "low" and outages were being restored in line with "business as usual".

ESB Networks has refused to recognise the IWU, saying it already recognises three unions for the network technician grade: Connect, Unite and SIPTU.

Some sources insist the IWU campaign is really about union recognition.

Members have now lost four days' pay due to strike action, and are also losing out on overtime and other ancillary payments due to the work-to-rule.

The IWU claims that it has received significant support from members of recognised unions refusing to pass its pickets.

However, the company has refused to disclose how many staff failed to show up for work on strike days.

ESB Networks argues that the IWU strike action is unlawful, and has launched legal proceedings against the union for defamation, conspiracy, and a number of other alleged wrongs.

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