October 27th: Responding to today’s news (Tuesday October 27th) that the High Court has overturned planning permission for the continued operation of Bord na Mona’s Edenderry plant, Unite Regional Officer Colm Quinlan warned that the ruling came at a time of heightened industrial tension following last week’s inconclusive Labour Court hearing. Mr Quinlan called on the company to seek a stay on the ruling beyond next April in order to make space for what he termed “very difficult negotiations”.
Edenderry Power employs 180 workers, and workers are represented by the Bord na Mona Group of Unions comprising Unite, SIPTU and the TEEU.
“Even before today’s ruling, the Group of Unions and Bord na Mona management have been trying to address a very significant cost-cutting agenda arising from the decision to end the public service obligation levy. This measure means that a collapse in revenue can be anticipated from 2016 at Edenderry, and at two other facilities in West Offaly and Lough Rea from 2019. This has resulted in a significant threat to jobs and to the livelihoods of local Midlands communities.
“The High Court ruling announced today has exacerbated industrial tensions at a time when they were already heightened in view of last week’s Labour Court hearing. The overarching aim of the Group of Unions is to achieve agreement that any redundancies will be strictly voluntary.
“I am calling on Bord na Mona to immediately seek a stay on the High Court ruling beyond next April to make space for these very difficult negotiations to be brought to a successful conclusion. We have engaged intensively with our members over the past year, all of whom are extremely worried about their future job security. In the event that we do not reach agreement with regard to job losses being achieved on a strictly voluntary basis, recourse to an industrial action campaign will become inevitable”, Mr Quinlan concluded.