The ESB unions served strike notice last Friday and the notice is due to expire on Sunday week. We understand there is a wide gulf between ESB management and unions on the pension fund. This morning's edition of the Irish Independent has outlined some of the so-called contingency plans that have been put in place by public bodies, State companies and private companies around the country in advance of this. If this action proceeds, it will have a very detrimental effect on every citizen in the country and on businesses. The next few weeks for businesses will make the difference between opening and closing their doors after Christmas and keeping people in employment. It will have a huge effect on our transport utilities in the run up to Christmas and on so many operations.
Given that the clock is ticking and that there has been no progress in the talks to date, what action has the Government taken, apart from monitoring the situation? Is there any intention to involve the labour relations mechanisms of the State to stop this from happening? By the time the House convenes again next Tuesday, we will be five days away from the expiration of the strike notice. People and businesses need to know where they stand and certainty needs to be brought to the situation. There needs to be an understanding that the Government is on top of the situation.