1,500 to strike at Bord na Móna

Almost 1,500 staff at Bord na Móna are to hold a one-day all-out strike at the plant next Tuesday over pay demands.

The action comes after almost two thirds of the staff, members of Unite, Siptu, and the Technical Electrical and Engineering Unions, rejected a deal hammered out between their union representatives and the company.

In what has become a long-running dispute, the workers have been demanding a 3.5% pay increase in line with the first phase of the Towards 2016 national wage agreement.

A compromise deal was reached between Bord na Móna and the group of unions which would have seen staff being given 1.75% of basic pay from Apr 1, a performance-related payment worth up to 1.75% of basic pay paid in 2013, and a one-off lump sum of €800.

The deal was to be accompanied by a pay freeze until 2016.

When the unions balloted their members on the offering, 60% rejected it.

Oliver McDonagh of Siptu said the payments had been due since early 2009, adding that the company had been profitable since then. He said the unions had recommended the deal as the best that could possibly be achieved through negotiation.

He said the group of unions has written to the company offering to engage in further talks in advance of the strike but has heard nothing back.

Bord na Móna confirmed it had received official notice of the group of unions’ intention to stage the one-day stoppage involving all its members.

“Bord na Móna plc is disappointed by this action. The agreement of Apr 4 last was arrived at after long and detailed negotiations addressing all the issues of contention,” it said.

“The company was satisfied at the time that the agreement with the unions represented a fair and reasonable accommodation of the interests of all parties.”

It is not thought next Tuesday’s action will impact on the supply of peat to ESB for power generation as the company has a stockpile of the fuel in reserve.

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