Changes to work practices at Tara Mines might need to be brought in, says SIPTU organiser

Changes To Work Practices At Tara Mines Might Need To Be Brought In, Says Siptu Organiser
SIPTU said it will be releasing more details on the detail after it has spoken to its members. Photo: PA
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Kenneth Fox

Updated at 13:47

SIPTU divisional organiser for Transport and Energy Adrian Kane has acknowledged that there could be changes in work practices when staff return to work at Tara Mines, but he said it was important to emphasise that unions had achieved the maintenance of core terms and conditions.


They will be meeting with its members to go into details of the proposals, but “in broad strokes” the trade union has agreed to recommend the proposals for implementation, he said.

Mr Kane told RTÉ radio’s News at One that the most important aspect of the proposal, which was agreed at the Workplace Relations Commission, was the commitment to reopen the mine from June of this year on a phased basis and a return to work over a six to seven-month period.

“There had been a question mark over the future of the mine, but what we have tried to secure through these negotiations is for the mine to reopen and to stay open. What we've also secured is that people return to work on their core terms and conditions of employment.

“So unfortunately, there are going to be redundancies.


"But they will be on a voluntary basis. It has been a very, very difficult time for our members over the last nine months. And this is the first bit of good news in terms of a commitment to reopen the mine that they've had over that period of time.”

Mr Kane pointed out that it was not a simple matter to get the mine back up and running. “The last time that this happened, it took between six and seven months. And it's a similar type of time frame on this occasion.

“One good thing to come out of it was a reform around Jobseekers benefits which was never pay related.

"But now government has given a commitment, down to the work of the trade unions, and particularly the workers in Tara mines, who lobbied very hard over the last number of months for change in our social protection legislation. "


It comes after an agreement was reached at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) earlier on Wednesday.

Tara Mines' Swedish parent company, Boliden, announced the temporary closure of the facility last June, resulting in the temporary lay-offs of 650 workers.

The company said the decision was due to high energy prices and the low price of zinc, and the mine was placed under care and maintenance.

Zinc prices are about 25 per cent lower than a year ago and the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts this week projected a zinc market surplus of 300,000 tonnes in 2024.

Trafigura-owned Nyrstar halted two US zinc mines late last year because of weak prices and inflation and this month closed the Budel zinc smelter in the Netherlands.

Additional reporting Vivienne Clarke

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