SIPTU has called on the Government to take immediate action to assist the many Bord na Móna workers facing the loss of their jobs and the communities which face economic hardship due to the company’s plans to accelerate the closure of its peat processing operations. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said: “Bord na Mónaannounced yesterday (Wednesday, 24th October) that the number of jobs that will be lost at the company in the near future could exceed 400. This emphasises the call by SIPTU representatives and others for the prioritisation of the ‘Just Transition’ framework, which is focused on alleviating the hardship on the workers and communities affected. “SIPTU representatives have already requested a meeting with Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, at which we will seek clarity on plans to address the immediate employment concerns of workers in Bord Na Mona. At this meeting we also want the concerns of communities about continuing employment in the locations affected by the Government’s decarbonisation policies to be addressed.  “Recently in the Dáil,the Minister said that the Government's National Mitigation plan recognises that the economic opportunities in the low carbon economy are key to ensuring a ‘Just Transition’. However, he then stated that the terms of reference of a report on the economic and employment implications of the transition to a low carbon economy have yet to be finalised. “It is imperative that tangible plans are developed and resourced as a matter of urgency. Workers should not be faced with job losses in circumstances where no alternative employment is available and no assurances have been given that they will receive decent severance packages.” He added: “Unions received an assurance from the management of Bord na Mónayesterday that it will commence discussions on a range of issues, including severance packages. However, in a simultaneous communication to employees the company stated that it would provide details of a redundancy package shortly. This action could be seen as implying that the company is not serious about its engagement with workers’ representatives. “SIPTU members are calling for a clear commitment from the Minister that state agencies, such as Bord na Móna, will be mandated to treat their employees fairly and engage in meaningful negotiation with workers representatives. They are also calling on all elected representatives to work for effective solutions to alleviate the impact of the scale of job losses facing workers and communities in the Midlands.”