30 November 2018 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, accompanied by Monaghan Co Council colleagues Councillors Brian McKenna and Seán Conlon, met with LacPatrick Head of Communications and Merger Overseer Patrick Donohoe on Friday last at the LacPatrick Monaghan premises, the site of the former Town of Monaghan Co-op. Deputy Ó Caoláin told the Northern Standard that he had secured the meeting in his ongoing efforts to give voice to the concerns of the Monaghanbased LacPatrick workforce, and the wider north Monaghan community, at the recently announced cutbacks in workers’ pay terms, including the loss of this year’s Christmas Bonus.

The SF Dáil Deputy has also requested assurances from the current and future management of the Monaghan LacPatrick site regarding the maintenance of all current jobs and the restoration of all pre-cuts terms of employment for all LacPatrick employees. Both Councillors Brian McKenna and Seán Conlon, with Deputy Ó Caoláin, quizzed Mr. Donohoe on all aspects of the recent cutback decisions “including the cutback applying to the creamery’s milk suppliers,” stated Councillor McKenna.

The Sinn Féin trio, having addressed all of the issues referenced in the LacPatrick statement last week that acknowledged the cuts the company had felt obliged to introduce, then raised the further situation that was not referenced in the company statement but that has applied over a considerable period to staff at the Monaghan plant.

“The Labour Court in 2017 awarded a 2½% pay increase to all production and administration staff at the former Town of Monaghan Co-Op site and that award has never been paid,” stated Councillor Conlon. Speaking to The Northern Standard following the meeting with Mr Donohoe, Deputy Ó Caoláin said that they had had a full and frank exchange on all the issues. “Our purpose in meeting Mr Donohoe was to reflect the very real and justifiable concerns of the 145 employees at LacPatrick Monaghan. We also outlined the impact of the announced cuts on the local economy of Monaghan town and north Monaghan generally, especially now in the lead up to Christmas.

“Our primary concern is, of course, the absence of certainty for all current jobs and very especially following the merger with Lakeland. While the current management has imposed very unwelcome cuts we are assured by Mr Donohoe that there are no plans for redundancies. “I believe it incumbent on Lakeland management to state clearly that they have no plans for staff or product line cuts at Monaghan. This could be said now, even while they and LacPatrick are waiting on the respective Competition Authorities in this state and in the north to give the proposed merger the green light.

“We respect the overwhelming decision of shareholders in LacPatrick, north and south, to merge with Lakelands and absolutely wish the new management, when it ‘kicks in’, every success. That is essential for all stakeholders, workers, milk suppliers, dependent families and the wider local economy here in Monaghan. “For our part we will continue to ask the relevant questions and to urge all who can help alleviate, preferably eliminate, the concerns and uncertainties regarding this key employer’s role in our community into the future. “I thank Mr Donohoe for accommodating our meeting request and for his candid responses to our many questions.”

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