Unions say essential peat workers 'must be protected' during Covid-19
Trade union Unite, which represents craft and administrative grades in Bord na Mona, has said that the recognition that Bord na Mona workers are ‘essential’ during the COVID-19 emergency highlighted the importance of the company’s continued operation not only to workers and their communities, but to the country as a whole.
Highlighting the urgency of ensuring that the 2020 peat harvest proceeds in order to help ensure security of Ireland’s energy supply as we face into an uncertain period, Unite Regional Officer Bernard Daly said that there was an urgent need for legislation to obviate the need for repeated planning applications in order to harvest peat.
“The government has classified Bord na Mona workers as essential during the COVID-19 emergency – at the same time as those workers are facing into job losses and uncertainty regarding terms and conditions.
“In the short term, it is vital that the 2020 peat harvest proceeds on schedule, not least to ensure the security of Ireland’s energy supply in an increasingly uncertain world.
“Due to the Government’s failure to legislate, planning applications need to be submitted for any peat extraction exceeding 30 hectares. That is clearly untenable in the current situation, and Unite is now calling on the government to act immediately to ensure that the 2020 harvest goes ahead.
“The Government must also make it clear to Bord na Mona that any attempt to use the current emergency to undermine workers’ terms and conditions would be not be accepted.
“The Government has correctly recognised that Bord na Mona employees are essential workers at a time of national emergency, and they must be protected accordingly,” Mr Daly concluded.