SIPTU representatives have today (Thursday, 12th October) confirmed that the union has secured an extension of a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) agreement that covers temporary lay-offs at Tara Mines following negotiations with company management. The agreement, which includes a €65 retainer to all workers on temporary lay-off along with the extension to the premium payment of health insurance, has been extended until 31stJanuary. At the talks, a framework was also agreed for a "return to normal operations" at the Navan facility. SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: "Today, we met with Tara Mines management regarding the Workplace Relations Commission agreement, which they have agreed to extend until 31st January. "At the meeting, management also confirmed further engagement on the union’s proposals to assist in an early return to normal operations and agreed the use of an external facilitator to assist with this process. "We insisted that a date for the recommencement must be delivered by the company as a matter of urgency. Failing to do so will only see all parties back before the WRC. The company committed to respond by next Tuesday (17th October) on the recommencement date. "It was also agreed to commence negotiations on a voluntary redundancy package as workers cannot be left in limbo and indefinitely on lay-off." SIPTU representatives have also welcomed a commitment on increased and pay-related benefits in Budget 2024, but said the timeframe must be brought forward to help workers such as those in Tara Mines.  SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: "Lay-offs at Tara Mines are having a devastating effect on the workers, their families, and the local economy. We need to strengthen the social floor for people in this desperate situation. The Government can move emergency legislation to make this happen.  "While we welcome the Budget commitments, they will be too little, too late for the Tara Mines workers. SIPTU has called on the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, to guarantee that social welfare benefits will not be reduced for these workers having secured the retention allowance."