Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has called on the chairman of Bord na Móna to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to brief members on the ongoing cost cutting exercise at the company.
Deputy Cowen made the comments after meeting with employee representative groups in the Houses of the Oireachtas last week.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Last week I met with representatives of employees at Bord na Móna. They expressed major dissatisfaction with the manner in which management at the company are seeking to implement a harsh cost cutting plan.
“On foot of this meeting I have called on my colleague Michael Moynihan TD to invite executives of Bord na Móna to address the Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to give a detailed account of the cost cutting exercise that is underway. Minister Alex White also needs to appear before the committee to brief us on the long term strategic plan for Bord na Móna.
“In particular they need to account for the manner in which the cost cutting exercise is being undertaken. Employees have serious concerns over the way they are being effectively forced into accepting new work contracts. The workers have informed me that the new contracts being offered slash pay by up to 30% and also dramatically reduce working hours.
“There has been much change in Bord na Móna over the years, but the company has always implemented that change through the normal and long established industrial relations channels. Previous agreements regarding change were achieved through consultations and agreement, but now it seems management are keen on pushing through whatever changes they feel are necessary.
“The chairman of Bord na Móna has extensive experience working with the Labour Relations Commission and should know that the company should be striving to reach agreement with its workers.
“I want the chairman of the Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to ensure that Bord na Móna executives, along with the Minister, outline the steps that they are taking to reach agreement with workers. Furthermore they must set out in detail the strategic plan for the company so that workers are given some certainty” said Deputy Cowen.