SIPTU representatives will meet with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, next week to discuss the threat to the future of Tara Mines in Navan, county Meath, and the actions needed to safeguard this vital economic facility. 

SIPTU TEAC Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “We have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister in order to relay to him the need for government action to support the swift return to operation of Tara Mines and protect the hundreds of good quality jobs which it provides.

“Boliden, the owners of Tara Mines, presented a so-called ‘rescue plan’ for the mine last Tuesday at a meeting with union representatives at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). It is clear from this document that the market price of zinc is no longer the key factor in the timing of the mine’s return to operation. 

“Rather, the ‘rescue plan’ includes a pre-condition that a new agreement with the Tara Mines Group of Unions must be secured prior to any of the workers returning to employment. 

“It is clear the company is intent on attempting to rip up negotiated agreements and downgrade the hard-fought for terms and conditions of employment of our members. In doing this, it is reneging on an absolute commitment it made to the 650 workers directly employed at Tara Mines that they would return to work with their full terms and conditions of employment intact.”

He added: “This is not a situation we will accept. We must now consider all options, including industrial action, to protect our members’ livelihoods and the wider economy of Meath and beyond.”  

SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: “The original reason management stated it was placing the mine into care and maintenance was that the market price of zinc had fallen to a degree that made its operation uneconomical. Once the price had returned to an adequate level, the mine was to recommence operation and workers would return to their jobs on their existing terms and conditions. It has now reneged on this position.”

He added: “Following the meeting with the Minister the union will be calling together its shop stewards in Tara Mines at 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 17th January in the Dan Shaw Centre in Navan. At this meeting the union’s response to the activities of the company will be discussed. Among the options that will be considered is a ballot for industrial action.”

Union representatives are scheduled to attend with Tara Mines management a WRC conciliation meeting on Monday, 22nd January, in Lansdowne House in Dublin.