An escalation of industrial action at Bord na Móna in the coming weeks could be on cards after a one-day stoppage last Tuesday.
The strike action, by members of SIPTU, UNITE and TEEU, was part of an ongoing pay dispute at the semi-state company, which saw hundreds of Bord na Móna workers staging a picket at sites across the Midlands. Speaking to the Offaly Independent SIPTU's Oliver McDonagh said a meeting has been arranged with the Bord na Móna Group of Unions for next Monday morning to discuss future stoppages.
Deliveries of peat to the West Offaly Power Station in Shannonbridge were halted during the day-long action last Tuesday although power generation was unaffected as stores of reserves are held by the ESB. Back in April, the Bord na Móna group of unions had recommended accepting a pay deal, which would have seen a 1.75% rise paid to staff, along with a once-off €1,000 payment in lieu of retrospective pay dating back to 2009. A further 1.75% would have been paid by the company based on performance and productivity in 2013.
However, the majority of the 1,500 workers in the semi-state company across the Midlands, the bulk of which are based in Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath, turned down that offer, which was considerably less than the 6% they were originally promised in 2009.
In a statement on Tuesday Bord na Móna plc said it was disappointed by the action by the Group of Unions and was working hard to minimise the amount of disruption experienced by customers. The company said it was satisfied that the proposed agreement with the unions represents a fair and reasonable accommodation of the interests of all parties.
It's unclear if they will attempt to re-open negotiations with the unions amid claims that there could be further strikes over the coming weeks if there is no resolution.
"Since it received notice of the action the company has reviewed its contingency plans for such occurrences." a spokeperson said.