Bord na Mona: Peat harvesting suspension must be accompanied by clear roadmap to protect jobs and earnings

Unite logo white out of redNew Government parties must firm up on programme commitments to Midlands

Workers must be central to proposed Just Transition Commission

June 17th: Responding to the news that Bord na Mona is to suspend peat harvesting, trade union Unite – which represents craft and administrative grades in the company – said today (Wednesday) that workers need a clear roadmap illustrating how jobs and incomes will be continue to be protected as Bord na Mona exits out of peat.  Unite welcomed Bord na Mona’s commitment in writing to the GOU that no jobs will be lost as a result of the announcement, and said it is now up to the parties forming the likely incoming Government to firm up on the commitments to the Midlands in the Programme for Government published on Monday.

Regional Officer Colm Quinlan said:

“While the exit from peat harvesting marks the end of an era in the Midlands, our focus must now be on ensuring security of employment and earnings going forward.

“As members of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party consider the Programme for Government, Bord na Mona workers and their families want to know how the parties will implement the commitment to “ensure that the Just Transition in the Midlands works inclusively” and that “vulnerable families and communities are protected”.

Regional Officer Ed Thompson added:

“Translating those aspirations into security for workers and communities requires a roadmap detailing projected jobs numbers while ensuring security of employment and earnings.

The Bord na Mona Group of Unions believes that, as a matter of urgency, all parties should conclude an industrial relations agreement that will lead to job security and the retention of current earnings for existing workers by utilising voluntary redundancy and redeployment where necessary.  Such an agreement should set out clear timelines on an annual basis over the next five years for transitional plans, allied to the Just Transition process.

“The Programme for Government notes that the exit from peat in the Midlands is the first test of Just Transition. 

“If the parties forming the next Government are to pass this test, workers must be fully involved in the de-carbonisation process.  .

Concluding, Colm Quinlan said:

“Bord na Mona workers have a wealth of expertise and experience which can inform the transition to a new low-carbon digital economy, ensuring that communities are not left behind.  Workers and their representatives must be central to the proposed new statutory Just Transition Commission, and we look forward to the parties to the incoming Government giving a firm commitment in this regard”, Mr Quinlan concluded.

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