bord na Mona, which is facing a peat stock crisis due to the summer’s record breaking rainfall has confirmed that a ‘contingency plan’ has been put in place and will be implemented ‘over the next number of months to mitigate losses resulting from the unprecedented weather’.
The company has confirmed that the peat harvest is less than a third expected for this year , due to the rain fall which fell 2.5 times the average rainfall for June, July, and August, . And in a statement made to the Leinster Leader the company also confirmed ‘that it is unlikely that the shortfall can be entirely recovered in what remains of the harvesting season that typically lasts from May to September’. However in response to the shortfall the company has said that ‘it has taken steps to ensure it has adequate stocks of peat to supply its customers’.
“Bord na Móna is an exceptionally resilient company that has come through this type of challenge a number of times before,” said Bord na Mona’s head of peat operations Paul Riordan. “Faced with a similar harvest scenario in the 1980’s the company, which was then exclusively dependent on peat operations came through that difficult period. I am confident that because we have successfully changed and diversified Bord na Móna’s operations into areas outside of our traditional core peat business, we are now in a better position to deal with the challenges presented by the unprecedented summer weather.”
Meanwhile the company, whose headquarters are based in Newbridge, has been locked into an on-going pay dispute with workers since last April. The issue has now been referred by the Labour Court last month to the Labour Relations Commission however no date has been set for a meeting of the Company and the Group of Unions at the LRC. Staff picketed last July in unity with sites in Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly and Roscommon over the pay dispute. Strike action was first deferred in April after the company offered to pay workers €1,000 each and a pay increase of 3.5 per cent which was outstanding since 2008. The offer from the company was that the increase would take the form of a 1.75 per cent increase in pay and 1.75 increase linked to productivity.
Despite a recommendation to accept from the Group of Unions, workers voted not to accept the offer by 57 per cent earlier this year.
- Paula Campbell