MORE contractors are set to cease employment at Moneypoint within weeks and there are genuine fears that after their departure, permanent ESB staff will be the next targets.
Councillor Ian Lynch said on Wednesday that he understood the remaining contractors are to leave at the end of this month. “I have spoken to a lot of people and I’m quite annoyed over the whole thing,” the Kilrush man said.
He said that he believes management are looking to cut jobs now, but that Moneypoint will not be closing and in the future those who are let go will be replaced by lower paid workers. “Anyone who thinks that Moneypoint is going to be gone for the future is not with it, they have spent quite a lot of money in upgrading the emissions and that hasn’t paid for itself yet, so the facility will stay going until that’s paid for. They have now refurbished all three turbines, following the issues that they found there recently.
They now have to be paid for as well, so Moneypoint will still create electricity for quite some time coming. But what seems to be happening is a concerted effort by ESB management to reduce the regional staff numbers, who would have considerably different pay packets to any staff they take on now.
“The threat is that with the contractors gone, they will start looking at their direct employees, and it’s the younger person that will suffer. The person who comes to retirement in the next three or four years will be kept on, but the young person with 15 years or so left, who has kids in the local GAA and school could be told there is no work there and that will destroy communities in West Clare.”
He warned, “It will have a huge impact locally. People are ringing me worried about their job, sole income earners, they are on about going to Saudi Arabia and things like that. It’s a terrible position to be in when, there will be work at Moneypoint.”
On Wednesday the ESB were approached for comment, but declined to say if there are any plans for cuts to the number of permanent staff, while they also opted not to provide any new information about the reduction in numbers of contractors working at Moneypoint.