Bord na Mona crisis: Bruton must intervene to restore confidence in Just Transition process

Unite logo white out of redUnite accuses management of tearing up agreement in ideological attempt to undermine company remit

July 21st: Unite today (Sunday) called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, to intervene in the crisis at Bord na Mona following the breakdown of talks between management and unions regarding the company’s announcement of layoffs at its Mount Dillon / Lanesborough plant in Co Longford.  Unite represents some managerial, supervisory and craft grades in Bord na Mona.

Unite Regional Officer Bernard Daly said today that the company’s behaviour over recent weeks has destroyed confidence in the ‘Just Transition’ process previously agreed between unions and management.  Pointing out that unions had put forward a range of suggestions to protect jobs, Mr Daly accused the company of tearing up the recent ‘Just Transition’ agreement in what he said was an ideological attempt to undermine the semi-state company’s remit.

“Throughout this process unions have acted constructively and put forward proposals which would avoid involuntary layoffs for permanent staff.  Our focus has been not only on protecting jobs and ensuring that all workers are treated equally, but also maintaining local spending in communities that depend on those jobs.  The recent ‘Just Transition’ agreement agreed between management and unions commits the company to ‘sustain and create employment’ in the Midlands Region.  Management’s behaviour in rejecting all proposals for employment preservation out of hand indicates that they have an ideological agenda which runs counter not only to the Just Transition agreement, but to the very remit of the company.

“Given the range of alternatives which the company has, we feel that their insistence on forced layoffs is due not to operational reasons, but is intended to establish a precedent. It is a precedent which unions will not accept”, Mr Daly said.

Regional Officer Ed Thompson added:

“The Government has been sleepwalking into a crisis which will devastate Midlands communities unless robust action is taken to protect jobs, workers and the communities they live in.  The announcement of layoffs earlier this month came just weeks after the ‘Foundation Document for a Just Transition’ was agreed with Bord na Mona.  Minister Bruton must now intervene to ensure that the terms of the agreement are fully upheld and, in the medium term, must work with all stakeholders to lobby at European level so that workers and their communities can access an EU-wide ‘Just Transition’ fund”, Mr Thompson concluded.

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