Job loss fears mount at Bord Na Mona

Dozens of workers at Bord Na Mona in Lanesboro will down tools for a second time later this month over a 3.5 per cent pay increase.

Dozens of workers at Bord Na Mona in Lanesboro will down tools for a second time later this month over a 3.5 per cent pay increase.

Unions at the State-owned peat producer this week gave the green light to escalate industrial action by holding two further days of stoppages on June 27 and 28.

News of the additional stoppages comes after staff at the peat firm rejected an earlier deal involving Union officials and management concerning the 3.5 per cent rise earlier this year.

The deal, agreed last April, reportedly meant staff would have received a lump sum payment of €1,000 upfront along with a 1.75pc pay rise.

Workers, however, were not guaranteed the final 1.75pc increase as the terms of the deal were believed to be performance-related.

It’s an impasse which some insiders believe could lead to a growing fear of potential job losses.

“That (job losses) is an inherent fear,” said a Longford-based worker on Tuesday morning, pausing to reveal confusion may also have set in.

“It’s (Bord Na Mona) a large organisation, there are seasonal workers and other factors to consider so it is very hard to determine what is going on.”

One of the main concerns, the source added, was the long term repercussions the deal could have on workers’ pension entitlements.

In response, Bord Na Mona said the strike action could have potential consequences for the company going forward.

“The company was satisfied at the time that the agreement with the unions represented a fair and reasonable accommodation of the interests of all parties,” a statement revealed this week.

“Bord na Móna plc believe this latest action by the unions represents an unhelpful escalation of action that will only damage the interests of the company and its employees.”