A Liebherr Container Cranes spokesman said “The union agreed to defer industrial action in order to facilitate talks and meaningful discussions between the management and the unions are currently ongoing.”

SIPTU branch organiser, Donal Tobin, said ““This will enable both parties to begin meaningful negotiations, and if significant progress is achieved during this time, then industrial action can be deferred for a further period.

“This compromise was reached with a view to finding a speedy resolution to all issues in dispute—the pension scheme, sick-pay scheme, management’s change agenda and basic pay—in the interest of both the company and our members.

“Discussions on the closing off of the defined benefit pension scheme have been ongoing since 2004, and despite protracted negotiations, at local and national level including the Labour Court, the issue remained unresolved. Discussions on the other issues have been ongoing since 2005, with no resolution in sight.”

The talks are taking place under the auspices of the Irish conciliation service, the Labour Relations Commission. The plant employs 450 people.