The Unite union has said that the High Court ruling to overturn planning permission for the continued operation of Bord na Mona’s Edenderry plant has come "at a time of heightened industrial tension".
The ruling, which quashes planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanala to extend the operations of the Bord Na Mona facility until 2023, has raised concerns for the long term future of 180 jobs at the plant in Co Offaly.
A stay has been put on the order which will keep the premises open until the end of next April, but Unite Regional Officer Colm Quinlan warned that the ruling came "at a time of heightened industrial tension" following a Labour Court hearing last week.
Mr Quinlan has called on the company to seek a stay on the ruling beyond next April in order to make space for what he termed "very difficult negotiations".
The 180 workers at Edenderry Power are represented by the Bord na Mona Group of Unions comprising Unite, SIPTU and the TEEU.
Mr Quinlan said: "Even before today's ruling, the Group of Unions and Bord na Mona management have been trying to address a very significant cost-cutting agenda arising from the decision to end the public service obligation levy.
"This measure means that a collapse in revenue can be anticipated from 2016 at Edenderry, and at two other facilities in West Offaly and Lough Rea from 2019. This has resulted in a significant threat to jobs and to the livelihoods of local Midlands communities."
He went on to say that the High Court ruling has "exacerbated industrial tensions at a time when they were already heightened in view of last week’s Labour Court hearing".
He said: "The overarching aim of the Group of Unions is to achieve agreement that any redundancies will be strictly voluntary.
"I am calling on Bord na Mona to immediately seek a stay on the High Court ruling beyond next April to make space for these very difficult negotiations to be brought to a successful conclusion.
"We have engaged intensively with our members over the past year, all of whom are extremely worried about their future job security.
"In the event that we do not reach agreement with regard to job losses being achieved on a strictly voluntary basis, recourse to an industrial action campaign will become inevitable."