The Bord na Móna Group of Unions has said that comments made by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, today (Friday, 26th July) do not adequately deal with their concerns and that workers’ representatives must be fully involved in discussions concerning the future of the company. Bord na Móna Group of Unions secretary, Willie Noone, said: “The comments made by the Taoiseach today have not allayed the concerns of Bord na Móna workers. He said ‘no job losses will occur until the end of 2020’ but this does not guarantee that all seasonal workers will have work during 2020. “Furthermore, the Taoiseach the Taoiseach said that ‘a package will be put in place for those who want to retire early’. This does not instil confidence in the workers as a company-designed package is already in place but to date applicants have been refused the opportunity to avail of it. Indeed, at the Bord na Móna plant in Mountdillon, County Offaly, the company has placed workers on layoff and threatened to do the same with others. “The comment by the Taoiseach that those who don’t want to retire early will work on a ‘Just Transition’ plan over the next ‘couple of months’ beggars belief as there is a collective agreement in place with workers that needs to be honoured. “The commitment previously given to workers was that an orderly ‘Just Transition’ would consist of  a phased wind down of peat operations until 2028 and the replacement of any jobs lost due to the end of the use of peat.” He added: “The CEOs of Bord na Móna and the ESB are meeting today with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton. It is expected that following this meeting more clarity will be given in relation to the statement by the Taoiseach. “The Group of Unions expect and demand full participation in any discussions regarding the future of our members in Bord na Móna. The Group of Unions insist that the Minister honours his commitment of 25th October 2018 to make an application to the European Globalisation Fund in conjunction with the trade unions and Bord na Móna.”