The Labour Court has recommended that construction workers should accept a pay cut of 2.5% on top of a 7.5% pay cut introduced some years ago.

The Construction Industry Federation had sought a cut of 20% to reflect the collapse of the construction sector.

The CIF had also sought a significantly lower starting rate equal to the minimum wage, as well as reductions in overtime and other allowances.

The Labour Court recommended a new entry rate of €12 per hour be introduced for workers with no experience - subject to guarantees that new recruits on the lower rate would not displace or have an adverse effect on existing employees.

There will also be cuts to the travel allowances but the court rejected CIF demands for reductions in overtime.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions official Fergus Whelan described the pay cut as disappointing.

He said unions wanted to consider this "complex" document before issuing a formal response.

CIF Director General Tom Parlon said the pay cut did not go far enough and the organisation would hold an emergency meeting in the coming days to discuss the matter.