Update: Bord Na Móna announce up to 430 workers to be made redundant

Update 4.20pm: Heather Humphreys and Richard Bruton have issued a joint statement to say Bord na Móna "is taking the steps it needs to take now, to continue to contribute to providing good and sustainable jobs in the Midlands for many years to come."

The statement from the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment comes as Bord na Móna has announced major job losses in the Midlands.

The two TDs have said that "all relevant State supports are available to the workers impacted by today’s announcement. Bord na Móna will provide additional supports to workers who opt for redundancy, including reskilling opportunities.

heather Humphreys

"The Government welcomes the extensive consultation which will now take place with workers in the coming weeks."

The statement also points to job growth in the Midlands in recent years..

"The Midlands has had strong employment growth in recent years, with 15,300 extra people at work since 2015.

Richard Bruton

"There have been a series of very positive job creation announcements in the Midlands in recent years and we have every reason to be optimistic that these trends will continue."

- Digital Desk

Update 3pm: Bord na Móna has announced major job losses, with 150 expected to be lost before Easter next year.

The power and fuel company announced on Wednesday that it is to open a voluntary redundancy scheme.

The statement said the organisation has “commenced engagement with employees flagging possible reduction of 380-430 managerial, administrative and peat operations roles”.

The group has also announced its strategy to decarbonise and move away from its traditional peat business into renewable energy.

Chief executive Tom Donnellan said: “Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing this planet.

“By accelerating the move away from peat into renewable energy, resource recovery and new businesses we are supporting national policy and seizing the opportunity presented by decarbonisation.

“In the past few months we have put in place a new structure to safeguard the maximum number of jobs, facilitate the decarbonisation strategy and reposition the company.

“Standing still is not an option for Bord na Móna.”

The job losses are expected to occur in counties Kildare and Offaly.

The cuts follow a decision by the company to close 17 of its 62 active peat bogs immediately, with harvesting at the remaining 45 expected to stop by 2025.

A consultation process with unions is under way.

Union officials have forecast that 850 workers in the peat sector could lose their positions.

Trade union Unite accused the Government of “sleepwalking into a crisis” which will devastate Midlands communities.

Regional officer Colm Quinlan said: “Unite is calling on minister Richard Bruton to convene an urgent meeting of all stakeholders to progress the agreement between Bord na Mona and the ESB.

“While Unite and the Bord na Mona group of unions will be fully engaged in the consultation process, if we do not receive progress reports and assurances in the short term, a major industrial dispute early next year would become inevitable.”

Sinn Féin jobs spokesman Maurice Quinlivan TD said: “The reality is that these are jobs that will very likely be hard to replace due to the industry and the fact that most of the jobs are in rural Ireland.

“These are very worrying times for the workers affected by this news and their families.

“It is important that the Government and the enterprise agencies direct the necessary resources into the areas affected by these job losses and make serious efforts to introduce new jobs to these areas.”

- Press Association

Update 12.45pm: Bord na Móna has announced that up to 430 workers are to be made redundant.

Up to 150 workers are expected to go before Easter 2019.

The job losses follow a decision by the company to close 17 of its 62 active bogs immediately.

The company says the decision was made necessary because of the need for decarbonisation - which it says is the biggest challenge facing this planet.

A voluntary redundancy programme will be opened shortly.

The Unite trade union has warned the government that the job losses could devastate Midlands communities.

The union says progress needs to be made on a proposed deal that would see Bord na Móna supplying peat to two ESB peat-fired power stations in Offaly and Longford.

It has warned that industrial action early next year was a real possibility if progress is not made.

Earlier: Fears for 1,000 Bord Na Móna jobs amid decarbonising plan

There are fears for up to a thousand jobs in the midlands.

Bord Na Móna is expected to announce the job losses this morning to coincide with their plans to decarbonise by 2030.

150 positions are due to go by Easter 2019 and a further 850 over the next decade.

The news is not a surprise for workers who have been aware of the impending cuts for some time.

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen says structures need to be put in place to provide for the employees who could find it difficult to find replacement work in rural areas.

"It's imperative on Government now to focus its effort on using a portion of the carbon tax revenue, on using a specific fund from Europe which is available.

"Similar funds were made available to the coal mining district in the UK when up to 500 jobs or more was lost and that's what we want to see put in place now."

Siptu Energy Sector Organiser Willie Noone says the job losses will affect whole communities and measures need to be put in place to protect workers' livelihoods.

"There's a lot of families that worked in Bord na Móna," he said.

"There's brothers and fathers and sons from the same households in the company. It's going to have a detrimental effect.

"It's very hard to see those jobs being replaced in a timeframe that's going to be adequate.

"We have concerns regarding the quality of those jobs that may become available. There's no point in having jobs for jobs' sake, we have to have good quality jobs."

Digital Desk

KEYWORDS:

Bord na Móna

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