4th May, 2017
Almost 70 staff are set to lose their jobs at a briquette plant in Littleton, Co Tipperary after Bord na Móna today announced the closure of the factory.
A meeting of senior executives was called today to discuss the future of the plant in Littleton and a further briquette factory in Co Offaly following a decline in briquette sales.
In a statement, the semi-state said that it is engaging with Littleton employees and union representatives.
The second facility in Derrinlough, Co Offaly, which is set to produce Bord na Mona’s new biomass briquette, will remain open, the company has said.
John Regan, Secretary of the Bord na Móna (BNM) Group of Unions said that members are “very disappointed but not surprised” by the decision. He said that the decision may lead to industrial action by members due to what the union sees as a “premature and unwarranted” move as Bord na Mona is set to begin production of its new biomass briquette.
“The decision is part of a wider pattern of choices by the management of BNM which has led to our members increasingly questioning the entire strategic direction of the Board,” he added. “It leaves them with no option but to consider what action must now be taken to persuade the company to reverse this unacceptable decision.”
In the wake of the announcement, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that the Government must do more to protect workers at risk of job losses during the transition to a low carbon economy.
As Ireland’s economy changes, as we move away from a fossil-fuel-based energy system, and work towards a low-carbon economy, the Government must do more to protect those vulnerable to job losses – particularly those who have spent their entire careers working in fossil fuel industries.Green Party leader Eamon Ryan
The industry may face more financial difficult in the future as the Public Service Obligation levy for the burning of peat for electricity production is set to be phased out in 2019.
Mr Ryan called for the remains of the PSO levy for peat – around €120m a year – to be used for the re-training of workers over the next few years. For that subsidy per worker, at least three or four sustainable jobs with a long-term future could be financed, he said.
Mr Ryan added that the Green Party will be bringing two bills before the Dáil in the near future to “ensure protection for Ireland’s bogs and to make sure that workers, like those in Bord Na Mona, are not left behind”.
Speaking at an event in Tullamore, Co Offaly this morning, Minister for the Environment, Denis Naughten said was mindful of the families of workers involved in both factories. He added that he was hopeful that the company would take a decision to reduce employment on a phased basis.