‘Very high’ stakes at play as crunch talks resume over Longford Bord na Móna job lay offs

Kevin Forde

Reporter:

Kevin Forde

Email:

kevin.forde@longfordleader.ie

Bord na Mona

Bord na Mona

Talks have resumed today, Thursday July 18, between representatives of Bord na Móna management and the BNM Group of Unions, in relation to the threat to 148 jobs at the Bord na Móna plant at Mount Dillon, Lanesboro, Co Longford. 

Willie Noone, BNM Group of Unions Secretary, speaking on Midlands 103 earlier today confirmed that talks had almost broke down, were it not for the intervention of TD’s who attended a meeting on Monday. 

“It appears that the discussions were about to break down and they did break down,” Willie Noone confirmed. 

Continuing he said: “They (TDs) listened to the views of the Unions. They listened to the views of a large number of workers who were present. They then subsequently went off and had discussions, got information from the ESB, EPA and Bord na Móna. 

“Yesterday, one of the TD’s contacted myself...and requested that we would go back into discussions with the company, on the basis that they have told the company that there is cross-party support for the union’s position.” 

Mr Noone confirmed that as a result, talks resumed again yesterday evening and will continue this morning. 

“By this evening, we will have a fair idea of whether we were successful in those discussions or not,” the BNM Group of Unions secretary admitted. 

Mr Noone said the union will not accept workers in the Lough Ree power plant being forced out of their jobs, as it would lead to further job losses in other facilities.  

He said: “We know the consequences of accepting that and what it means for Bord na Móna workers all over the rest of the country as well and indeed for workers in a similar state throughout the country in other employments/sectors. 

“There are very high stakes at play here."

Also read: Fresh moves to resolve impasse over Longford Bord na Móna job fears

Although there remains a lot of ground to be made up in talks, Mr Noone admits that they are in a much better position than last week. 

“We believe that we are in a better place than we were last Friday, due to the fact that a number of TDs got involved,” he said. 

Adding he said: “We would hope that the momentum would be on our side and we will come out with a successful conclusion.”

When asked if he believed were the two sides closer to an agreement that before, Will Noone replied: ‘I believe we are”. 

He said the union are trying to plan for the worst case scenario and says they made it clear they have no concerns with being redeployed to other roles within BNM. 

“What we are trying to do across this company is to plan for the worst case scenario, which is that the plant may not open up again, at all. If it does open up, then we can deal with that." He said. 

“We were very clear with the company yesterday that they won’t find us lacking in that regard.” he said of workers being redeployed. 

“If it means actually going to a different location, we would do that as well. We haven’t been found wanting in that regard. 

“In fact, any of the jobs the company has come forward with, we have said ‘yes’ no problem. There are no issues from our side on that regard.” Mr Noone confirmed. 

Th BNM Group of Unions secretary said the remaining stumbling block is finding positions for staff left without any. 

He said, “If there isn’t positions for those people, we need to know the company’s position.”

“Are they going to turn around to us and say we have looked after 60-70% of the workers, so therefore the remaining 30% will have to face going home and telling their family that they have no job in a week’s time?” he asked. 

“If that is the case, we have a problem.”

Talks between Bord na Móna and the BNM Group of Unions are ongoing. 

Also read: Longford general election rivals react to devastating Bord na Móna job losses