Up to 430 workers to be made redundant at Bord na Móna

The company says the decision was made necessary because of the need for decarbonisaton

Up to 430 workers to be made redundant at Bord na Móna

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 16:00

Bord na Móna has said up to 430 workers could be made redundant at the energy company.

The announcement follows a decision to close 17 of its 62 active bogs immediately.

A voluntary redundancy programme is due to be opened by the company.

It comes as Bord na Móna moves to speed up its decarbonisation efforts, and work towards more renewable energy efforts.

Following a board meeting this morning, the company says it is informing employees of the 'possible reduction' of 380-430 managerial, administrative and peat operations roles.

Chief Executive Tom Donnellan said decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing the planet - and presents both a serious challenge and opportunity for Bord na Móna.

He said: "In the past few months we have put in place a new structure to safeguard the maximum number of jobs, facilitate the decarbonisation strategy and reposition of the company. While, decarbonisation means we must introduce a new structure it also means confronting some extremely difficult choices.

"It means that fewer people will be working in peat operations and also managerial and administrative roles across Bord na Móna. We will shortly open a voluntary redundancy programme, with the expectation that these changes could directly impact approximately 380-430 roles and employees."

He added that a consultation process that includes unions is now underway.

The company also suggested that the move to renewable energy could ultimately create "400-500 jobs across the Midlands in the medium term".

'Difficult day'

Image: RollingNews.ie

The news - which had been long-expected - has led to fears for communities in the Midlands that have been heavily reliant on Bord na Móna for jobs in the past.

In a statement, Environment Minister Richard Bruton and Business Minister Heather Humphreys said it is a "difficult day for many Bord na Móna workers and their communities".

The ministers observed: "Bord na Móna is taking the steps it needs to take now, to continue to contribute to providing good and sustainable jobs in the Midlands for many years to come.

"Crucially today’s announcement is expected to provide for long-term, sustainable employment for the Midlands – including 400-500 jobs in new areas of the business, such as renewable energy and resource recovery. "

They add: "All relevant State supports are available to the workers impacted by today’s announcement.

"Bord na Móna will provide additional supports to workers who opt for redundancy, including reskilling opportunities. The Government welcomes the extensive consultation which will now take place with workers in the coming weeks."

Earlier, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen called on the Government to ensure supports are in place in the coming years for those affected.

“It is a grave day for the Midlands insofar as the job losses will have a huge impact on families and impact on whole communities,” he observed.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly said the Government should use funds raised from auctioning of carbon allowances under the EU's emissions trading scheme to support impacted workers.

He explained: “Ireland is moving towards a low-carbon economy, and this will accelerate in the coming years.

"It is vital that this transition is fair and inclusive, and ensures that nobody is left behind."