LIttleton and Templetuohy are to suffer a devastating blow to the local economy this summer as Bord na Móna cuts its staff down to a skeleton crew.
Up to 80 staff are employed at the Littleton peat briquette plant and harvesting peat in Templetuohy. The workforce mainly consists of general workers, electrical and mechanical fitters, and management and administration.
On Tuesday, news emerged that Bord na Móna is moving to close production at the Littleton site from April 29th, and not re- opening until mid-August.
Deputy Michael Lowry said he had been informed that a roster of layoffs had been created to provide for a skeleton staff over a 14-week period, despite the company being profitable.
“Workers face a minimum of eight weeks of layoffs and other weeks of two days only. This is a cost saving exercise,” said Deputy Lowry. “Bord na Mona is strong financially. The Littleton plant makes a substantial profit each year. These savage cuts to pay and conditions are going to have a devastating impact on the income of permanent staff and consign them to experience financial hardship. This is a situation where a profitable company is treating its loyal workforce in a shameful way and transferring some of the costs of its employment obligations over to the Department of Social Protection. This plan by senior Management at Bord na Mona is neither fair nor logical and must be reviewed,” said Deputy Lowry.
Today, (April 15th) the company responded by saying “a combination of factors including a milder winter period, carbon tax and it’s uneven application in the market as well as an unusually high private timber supply have led to reduced sales of our solid fuel products. Due to the low sales levels the Company implemented a contingency plan to increase sales and manage our costs. The Company engaged with the Group of Unions and outlined its plan for dealing with this situation. Part of the plan involving redeployment of employees to Security, Bog Operations and other areas of Bord na Móna is been implemented. Bord na Móna has successfully managed similar situations like this in the past. Planning for the 2015/2016 solid fuel season is proceeding as normal.”
Full story on page 3.