The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) yesterday¬†condemned unions for making “unrealistic” pay demands and holding employers and the general public to ransom in pursuit of “unsustainable” claims.

Speaking after the release of the CSO Industrial disputes figures yesterday, the ISME have called on the Government to legislate to prohibit strikes in public utilities and essential services.

During 2015 there were 32,964 days lost to industrial disputes. This compares with 44,015 days lost in 2014 according to Central Statistics Office figures.

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