Unite, a trade union representing employees at Tara Mines, has strongly criticized the rescue plan proposed by Boliden, the Swedish multinational operating the mine. The union has accused Boliden of adopting a “slash and burn” approach to jobs, with the plan entailing a significant reduction in the workforce and alterations in terms and conditions for the remaining employees.
Operations at Tara Mines were suspended last July, leading to the temporary layoff of 650 workers due to what the company described as “significant and unsustainable financial losses” amid falling zinc prices globally. A subsequent agreement assured workers that they would retain their current terms and conditions when the mine reopens in the second quarter of this year.
Boliden recently sought non-binding “declarations of interest” from staff for a redundancy program, a move understood to be in response to a request from the Tara Mines group of unions, including Unite and Siptu. However, the details of the rescue plan, as presented to worker representatives at the Workplace Relations Commission negotiations, have sparked controversy.
Unite has condemned the proposed redundancy scheme as inferior to previous agreements with unions. The union is urging the Government to step in to protect “good jobs and skills” at the Co Meath mine unless Boliden retracts its current proposals. Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, emphasized the need for government intervention to secure the mine’s future if Boliden fails to amend its approach.