The ongoing row at Bord Na Mona looks set to drag on well into the summer after last week’s two day stoppage failed to bring about any lasting resolution.
Company bosses said they now believed the dispute should be transferred to Labour Court officials following the failure of talks with union leaders.
In a statement on Monday, the state-owned peat producer said the sitaution was now out of their hands.
“Following further consideration and in order to find a resolution to the dispute, the Company believes that the matter should be referred back to the Labour Court for further investigation and recommendation.
“As per normal practice we would expect that no further industrial action would take place during the course of such a process,” the statement read.
It comes only a few days after Bord Na Mona workers at the firm’s Lanesboro plant joined up to 1,500 of their colleagues at stations across the midlands for two days of strike action.
Staff gathered outside the south Longford premises as unions attempted to secure a 3.5 per cent rise in line with the first phase of the Towards 2016 national wage agreement.
The decision by members from Siptu, Unite and the TEEU disrupted harvesting activities on Wednesday and Thursday of last week despite leaving operations at ESB power stations untouched.
Management expressed their upset at the protest, describing the two day stoppage as “disappointing” earlier in the week.
Sources close to the dispute have since hinted at a potential thawing in relations with a union leaders meeting rumoured to have been provisionally pencilled in for Monday.
Much will depend however on precisely what terms company executives are willing to sanction after a 3.5 per cent pay rise was agreed between both parties earlier this year.
It’s believed the agreement was subsequently turned down by staff due to possible future pension entitlement claims.
Meanwhile, a second statement from Bord Na Mona this week attempted to deflect any fears the dispute may have on service provision going forward.
“The contingency plans are designed by the company with a view to reducing the amount of interruption to its services,” the statement pointed out.
“Bord na Móna plc can confirm since the plans became operational, they have been implemented as planned and are working well to minimise the amount of disruption experienced by our customers.”