Bord na Móna job losses could lead to industrial action – unions

Shockwaves as 150 workers lose jobs in wake of ESB Longford peat-fired plant closure

Workers attend an emergency meeting at the Mountdillon plant in Co Longford, on Thursday.  Photograph: Shelley Corcoran

Workers attend an emergency meeting at the Mountdillon plant in Co Longford, on Thursday. Photograph: Shelley Corcoran

 

Unions representing staff at Bord na Móna have warned that plans by the company to lay off nearly 150 workers at its at the plant in Mountdillon, Co Longford, could lead to industrial action.

Born na Móna said on Thursday that it had no choice but to “cease all operations at Mountdillon works and place all impacted employees on protective notice effective immediately”.

The sudden decision came after the ESB shut down its Lough Ree power station at Lanesborough, Co Longford, after falling foul of the Environmental Protection Agency over the temperature of cooling water discharged from the facility into the river Shannon.

As a result, Bord na Móna said, there had been been no requirement since Sunday last to supply any peat to Lough Ree Power.

Bord na Móna confirmed that about 70 permanent employees would be laid off temporarily from next Thursday. A further 78 seasonal employees have lost their jobs with immediate effect.

ESB’s third-largest peat-powered plant will remained shut down for an indefinite period until it can persuade the EPA that the plant’s operation has come back to compliance with the obligations of its environmental licence.

‘Industrial action’

The secretary of the Bord na Móna (BNM) group of unions, Willie Noone, said that news of the job losses would send shockwaves through the company.

He warned that “industrial action may be the only avenue open to union representatives in order to defend our members’ conditions of employment as the company is not adhering to collective agreements”.

“The BNM group of unions is shocked that this semi-State company has informed staff that they are to be laid off indefinitely with only seven days notice. The unions have a collective agreement that is only five weeks old, which clearly states that an engagement must take place with representatives prior to any job losses occurring.”

The group of unions at the company is set to convene a full meeting of its representatives on Friday morning to discuss with management the job losses.