Members of the Connect trade union working in water services have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action if the Government fails to live up to commitments given relating to their terms and conditions of employment.

A ballot of members employed in local authority water services, which was counted last night, resulted in a majority of over 96% in favour of industrial action if commitments provided to them by the Government are not fully implemented.

The union says the commitments include the full protection of workers' terms and conditions of employment if they transfer to a single national water utility or to another department within a local authority.

The result of the ballot was announced today on the opening day of Connect's Biennial Delegate Conference in Co Wexford

Earlier this year, talks were held between trade unions representing water services workers, local authorities, Irish Water and officials from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

A framework document was produced in June after agreement was reached on the transfer of water service staff from local authorities to Irish Water.

"Connect members affected by the transfer of local authority water services requested a ballot be conducted in order to prepare the union for immediate industrial action if there is any attempt by any party to renege on the commitments that emerged from the talks process," said Paddy Kavanagh, Connect General Secretary.

Also at today's conference, Connect is calling on the Government to establish a semi-state company with its own workforce to implement its retrofitting scheme for private dwellings and public buildings.

With more than 40,000 members, the Connect trade union is the largest organisation for craft workers in the country, representing workers in the skilled technical, engineering, electrical and construction sectors.