Unite formally notified of more than 20 redundancies by AES but job-loss figure expected to rise sharply
Energy Regulator must intervene to allow SONI to offer ‘capacity contract’ quickly to avoid all 250 AES jobs being lost
November 8th: Despite being included in the 2018 All-island Generation Capacity Statement published last month by the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI), AES management have brought forward planned redundancies across Kilroot and Ballylumford B power stations as a result of the exclusion of generators at both sites from supply contracts under the current Integrated Single Electricity Market.
The exclusion from the contracts to supply has come about as a result of rules set by the Electricity Regulator and enforced by Irish-government owned SONI, which has responsibility for the management and operation of the transmission grid across the island of Ireland. The decision threatens to shut down 36 percent of Northern Ireland’s generating capacity and has been widely criticised as leaving the region dependent on imported electricity and vulnerable to blackouts post-Brexit.
Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer spoke on the union’s fears for further job-losses at Kilroot and Ballylumford:
“Last week Unite was notified of the likelihood of just over twenty job-losses across Kilroot and Ballylumford; however we are preparing ourselves for that number to rise substantially. We understand that approximately eighty AES employees are likely to be made redundant in the near future. Unfortunately they won’t be the only ones affected, we are estimating the knock-on impact in terms of job-losses on that scale could include an additional 60 direct, full-time contractors who work on-site. These redundancies will come as devastating news for those workers’ families at this time of year.
“We fail to understand the logic of a decision to cut 36 percent of Northern Ireland’s generating capacity at a time when UK government briefings are warning of the possibility of black-outs post-Brexit. This decision will leave Northern Ireland dependent on electricity imported from the Republic when the our ability to do so is in question. Not only does these policies threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of workers but damaging brown and blackouts for industry in Northern Ireland.
“In the absence of a ‘contract to supply’ under the current ISEM, it is now vital that the Energy Regulator intervenes to provide a ‘contract for capacity’ as quickly as possible. All 250 AES positions and a further 120 direct, full-time contractors working at Kilroot and Ballylumford B face the prospect of redundancy if that is not forthcoming”, said Mr Thompson.