Bord na Mona’s (BNM’s) €40 million voluntary redundancy scheme has officially closed to applications from workers.

In a statement to AgriLand, the semi-state company – which is looking to shave more than 400 jobs from its peat division (including 150 in the immediate term) – said the scheme, which opened last November, received a “significant number” of applications.

The job losses – impacting heavily on tractor and machinery drivers – have resulted from the company’s decision to accelerate its decarbonisaton strategy.

It now intends to cease peat harvesting completely by 2025 – five years ahead of its previously announced deadline of 2030.

A spokesperson for the company said: “BNM is transitioning away from its traditional operations to a business which will be a leading provider of renewable energy in Ireland, in high value recycling of waste and a provider of a range of low carbon, sustainable products and services based on our extensive land bank and consistent with Government policy.

One component of the transition focuses on simplifying and consolidating our traditional businesses and part of this involves a voluntary redundancy scheme which closed on January 31 and received a significant number of applicants.

“We have committed to communicating the details around this with our employees in the first place and will be doing so in due course,” the spokesperson stated.

It is understood that a considerable portion of applications have already been finalised.

“Of the remaining applications, they are being finalised along different timelines that are largely determined by a range of criteria – including specific business needs and the personal requirements of the individuals involved.

“The company had one voluntary redundancy scheme that is now closed. There will not be a new scheme,” the statement concluded.

Also Read: Peat industry closure will lead to crazy biomass import bills

Currently there are 2,000 workers in BNM, with approximately 1,000 people working on the peat side.

‘Lump sum’

According to the company’s voluntary redundancy scheme, those who take redundancy will receive two weeks of pay per year of reckonable service – plus a further one week’s pay.

Workers will also receive an ‘ex-gratia’ lump sum, based on four weeks pay per year of reckonable service – this will be capped at 104 weeks‘ worth of pay.

The overall cap on payments to workers is half of what they otherwise would earn if they worked until retirement.

BNM will also pay outplacement allowances under the following pay grades:
  • 0-10 years of service: €1,000;
  • 10-15 years of service: €1,500;
  • 16-20 years of service: €2,000;
  • 21-25 years of service: €2,500;
  • 26-30 years of service: €3,000;
  • 31+ years of service: €0.