- Warning that Irish midlands could resemble US and UK "rust-belts" without plan
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is to seek a deferral of Littleton briquette factory closure to allow time for the development of a "Just Transition plan" for alternative employment and the resources needed to reskill and retrain the workforce.
The call will be made at a Congress organised conference on climate change and the energy sector, in Dublin on Wednesday, May 10.
Just Transition:Climate Change & the Implications for the Energy Sector will hear from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment Denis Naughten TD, Congress General Secretary Patricia King and Maeve McElwee of IBEC.
Adrian Kane, Chair of the Congress Energy & Natural Resources Committee will tell conference that: 'the decision by Bord na Mona to close the Littleton plant in Tipperary brings into focus the need for a "just transition" to a low carbon economy.
"Unless the government and employers sit down with the unions to fashion an orderly transition to a low carbon economy, then the midlands of Ireland will begin to resemble the rust-belts of northern England and the northeast of the United States," Mr Kane will warn.
"Closure of briquette factories and peat-fuelled power-stations, without allowing adequate time to plan for alternative employment and provide resources for the reskilling and re-training of the workforces, will condemn the midlands to a bleak future.
"In that context, Congress is calling on the Minister to review the decision and defer the closure until such time as these measures are in place. Climate change is a fact and all sides must face up to their responsibilities."
Mr Kane's call will be supported by Congress General Secretary Patricia King: "We cannot simply abandon people and communities. The Bord na Mona announcement in relation to the Littleton factory is a prime example of how not to manage this process and clear evidence of why we need a well-ordered Just Transition. There is a moral, social, political and economic imperative to do so."
The conference will also hear from Brian Kohler of the IndustriALL global union, who will highlight the necessity to prevent 'socially disastrous transformations to the low carbon model," and the role of trade unions in ensuring that workers, their families and communities are protected in this process.
The conference takes place in the CWU Conference Centre, Dublin.
For more information, contact Macdara Doyle: 087 9174171