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24th April 2020 | Agriculture, Coronavirus, Press Releases, Rural

Bord na Móna must act to protect all its workers and ensure a Just Transition – Greens

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Senator Pippa Hackett of the Green Party today condemned Bord na Móna’s announcement that 230 employees in its Energy Business Unit were to be laid off.

Bord na Móna have announced that following a collapse in horticultural sales of peat, and a corresponding fall in commercial revenues, 230 workers were to be “temporarily released”. The workers include management, permanent and seasonal employees.

Senator Hackett said:

“Bord na Móna has a duty to protect and provide for all its workers through the present crisis. My understanding is that while permanent employees will continue to receive 100% of basic pay, subsidized by the State’s Covid-19 Payment, it is unclear whether seasonal workers will have access to the same supports. There is a risk here that seasonal workers and the lowest-paid workers will be the hardest hit.”

“It is astounding that Bord na Móna sprung this decision on workers with little or no prior consultation. The company must engage with the Bord na Móna Group of Unions to ensure that its response is proportionate and fair. According to the Group of Unions, there are hundreds of permanent employees within Bord na Móna eager to take voluntary redundancy, who the company will not let go in case they are needed. Why not facilitate the voluntary redundancy of these employees, while keeping on workers who wish to stay?”

“Dignity, social dialogue and economic justice are at the heart of a Just Transition. Fossil fuel based industries such as peat extraction are unsustainable, but workers and communities who will be most affected by the transition away from these industries must be involved in the conversation about the changes ahead. Sudden redundancies like this destroy that dialogue where it is needed the most.”