Bord Na Móna workers are to hold a public protest in county Longford tomorrow (Monday 23rd July) to highlight their opposition to the immediate threat by the company to lay off permanent staff at Mountdillon without pay. Trade union members of SIPTU, Connect and Unite, who are organising the protest, are also objecting to the treatment of seasonal workers who have already been laid off indefinitely without regard to their employment rights. The protest will commence on the Bridge of Lanesboro at 7.30 p.m. and the unions are calling on all affected workers, their local communities and political representatives to take part. Secretary of the Bord Na Móna Group of Unions and SIPTU Organiser, Willie Noone, said: “Bord Na Móna has indicated that it will recommence the process of laying off permanent workers from Monday (23rd July) despite discussions with the Group of Unions (GOU) over the past week which provided a solution that would avoid the requirement to lay off more staff. “It seems that the company wants to set the precedent that it can lay off workers at will. Seasonal workers have also been treated abysmally with scant regard given to their contractual minimum employment rights with the result that many of these workers cannot attain their full social welfare payments. “These workers and their families would greatly appreciate support as they are resolute in their view that they should not be treated in this fashion, particularly by a semi-state company, and should not be facing unpaid lay-offs in circumstances where verified work remains available for them to do.” The GOU has informed management that it is willing to consider any redeployment options, including by utilising annual leave entitlements, or voluntary lay-offs or severance in order to protect the jobs of its members. They have called on the company to re-enter discussions on maintaining employment at Mountdillon over the coming weeks while the Lough Ree power station remains off grid.