Industrial unrest at Bord na Móna over 3.5% pay rise claim

Industrial unrest is brewing at Bord na Móna over a 3.5% pay rise demand.

Workers at Bord na Móna have warned of a “robust” response if management does not give them a 3.5% pay increase, which they have been seeking since 2009.

The warning comes less than three years after more than 1,000 workers staged a strike over the same pay claim.

Over the last week, the Bord na Móna group of trade unions has been holding general meetings with staff in Tullamore.

Yesterday, the three unions which make up the group — Siptu, Unite, and TEEU — called on the company to give the 3.5% rise to staff and “end its attacks on their terms and conditions of employment”.

The group said that Bord na Móna’s management is attempting to reduce pay and employee numbers at the company in order to achieve a cut of €23.3m in expenditure.

It said that the cuts were being forced on the workforce despite Bord na Móna being a highly profitable company, “with €50m profits declared in its annual financial returns for 2013/2014”.

The group of unions’ secretary and Siptu organiser, John Regan, said the three general meetings had been attended by over 80% of the members of the group.

He said they had mandated the trade union officials to insist the company deliver the pay increase.

“Over the 75 years of this semi-state company’s existence, many organisational changes have been successfully introduced by management engaging fully with workers and their representatives,” said Mr Regan.

“That management has now adopted a draconian approach to negotiations with workers is extremely unhelpful.”

TEEU official Darren Erangey said attempts by management to undermine well-established industrial relations procedures by targeting small sections within the workforce will fail.

“There is great solidarity among union members and this was indicated by the unanimous support shown by workers at each meeting for the approach of their union representatives to discussions with management,” said Mr Erangey.

Unite official Ed Thompson said that if management does not engage in a meaningful manner at the Labour Relations Commission the union grouping will respond in a “robust” manner.

His Unite colleague, Colm Quinlan, added that it would be “unwise” for management to underestimate the strength of feeling of their membership.

Last night, a spokesman for Bord Na Móna said: “Following an engagement process between Bord na Móna and the group of unions, a number of issues have been referred to the Labour Relations Commission for consideration.

“In accordance with the normal practice of the company, Bord na Móna will not be making any further comment while the matter is before the LRC.”

Meanwhile, Greyhound Recycling has confirmed that, as part of a restructuring, it is to make up to 10 people redundant.

However, it says the move will also lead to the creation of a further 15 jobs over time.

A spokesman said staff briefings over the changes were currently ongoing.

The company was involved in a 14-week stand-off with staff last summer, with workers claiming they were locked out by their employer for failing to agree to pay cuts of up to 35%.


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