Bord na Mona’s decision to lay off 230 workers in its Energy Business Unit will impact up to 60 people at the Mount Dillon works in Lanesboro.
A statement from Bord na Mona says the lay-offs are necessary because of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on its business. Bord na Mona says there has been a complete cessation of peat sales to Lough Ree power station in Lanesboro and that they’ve experienced an unprecedented fall in commercial revenue at their waste management section and in horticultural peat.
The company maintains the lay-offs will impact at all levels in the Energy Business Unit including management, permanent and seasonal employees. It says all impacted permanent employees will continue to receive 100% of their basic pay, and the company will avail of the government Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Deputy Denis Naughten called on Minister Richard Bruton to issue a clear statement on the practical steps he is taking to secure employment for Bord na Mona and ESB workers facing the likelihood of not being able to return to work after the Covid-19 crisis.
“The decision by Bord na Mona to lay off 230 staff, following on from the shutting down of Lanesboro and Shannonbridge power stations, has huge implications for job retention right across the region and we need to hear from Minister Bruton,” stated Denis Naughten.
Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice said: “While permanent employees will be able to maintain their links with the company, approximately 100 seasonal employees are being shown the door.
“It is my understanding that no application from BNM was submitted to keep these seasonal employees on through the wage subsidy scheme; which, if true, is shameful.
“Given that the Government is encouraging companies to maintain links with all employees through the wage subsidy scheme, it seems as if BNM – as a semi-state company – are willing to toss their temporary workers on the scrap heap.
“It is deplorable that BNM, as a company which recorded a profit of in excess of €41 million last year, are prepared to send these workers packing and leaving many with no option but to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment”.
Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane said that Bord na Móna’s decision to lay off 230 workers is a “shocking blow” to workers, families and communities reliant on these jobs.
She said: “These workers were supposed to be assisted by the government’s Just Transition plan, but Minister Richard Bruton has been sitting on a report from the Just Transition Commissioner and has not brought forward a plan for Bord an Móna workers.
“He must publish this report and ensure there is genuine and serious engagement with trade unions without delay”.
Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy described the lay-offs as a devastating blow to the midlands. He called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment to publish the report from the Just Transition Commissioner Kieran Mulvey.
Senator Murphy said: “This a devastating blow for our community. The company should allow the people who wish to retire to retire before the lay-offs begin. They should live up to the promise of retraining and upskilling for employees who now face into an uncertain job market.
“This stress and confusion could have been avoided. An Bord Pleanála, aided and abetted by Government, are still stalling on the peat extraction application which would have seen both of these stations in operation”.