ESB Networks technicians belonging to the Independent Workers Union have suspended their industrial action pending the outcome of legal proceedings related to their demand for consultation rights.

The IWU claims that it now represents up to 600 of the ESB's 1,500 network technicians - though that figure is disputed by the company and by rival unions representing the grade.

The union commenced a work to rule on 19 April, under which members refused to do overtime, call out or standby duties.

They have also held four days of strike action in a dispute which they say centres on the company's failure to consult adequately with them on the outsourcing of certain work.

However, ESB Networks does not recognise the IWU and has refused to engage with it on the basis that it already recognises three unions representing the Network Technicians grade - Connect, SIPTU and Unite.

Some sources claim the IWU campaign is really about union recognition - a claim rejected by the union leadership.

IWU Regional Secretary Gerry Corbett confirmed today that following a lengthy meeting of its strike committee yesterday, it had been decided to defer further industrial action pending High Court rulings on their grievances.

He confirmed that all on-call and standby duties would now resume as normal.

Mr Corbett said the union will shortly be launching legal proceedings seeking full implementation of members' rights under the information and consultation legislation.

For its part ESB Networks has already issued proceedings against the IWU for defamation, conspiracy, inducement of breach of contract, unlawful interference with contractual relations and unlawful interference with its business.

Throughout the dispute, the company has insisted that impact on the public has been "limited".