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The New Boliden Tara Mines in Navan, Co Meath. MARK STEDMAN/PHOTOCALL IRELAND

Workers at Tara Mines begin protest over plans to temporarily close the site

Unite trade union workers have begun a protest which they say is the ‘result of management intransigence’.

WORKERS AT TARA Mines in Co Meath have begun a protest over plans to temporarily close the site.

In a statement on 13 June, Swedish parent company Boliden confirmed that production and exploration at the mine would cease temporarily and the mine would be placed “under care and maintenance” within a month.

Gunnar Nyström, general manager of Tara Mines said: “This was not a decision we made lightly, but we simply have to stem the unsustainable cash outflow that we are currently experiencing, in order to safeguard the long-term future of the mine.”

This would involve the loss of 650 jobs at the Navan mine, which is Europe’s largest zinc mine.

Workers at the mine who are members of the Unite trade union have begun a protest which they say is the “result of management intransigence”.

Unite’s regional coordinating officer Tom Fitzgerald last night said: “This protest should not come as a surprise to anyone.

“Workers are frustrated at management’s ongoing refusal to fully disclose Tara Mines’ profits, as well as their refusal to commit to an early date for resumption of operations at the mine.

“Workers at Tara Mines, who are facing the prospect of indefinite layoff without pay, have clearly seen no alternative but to take this action due to the company’s intransigence and their refusal to engage with workers and their representatives in any meaningful way.”

Fitzgerald added that “public ownership of Tara Mines must be on the agenda”.

Meanwhile, Siptu has called on the government to “urgently engage” with Swedish parent company Boliden.

Siptu will table an emergency motion at today’s ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference calling for an “immediate and major intervention by the government to protect the continued operation of Tara Mines”.

The motion will also call for workers continue to be paid in full.

Siptu yesterday held discussions with the management at Tara Mines at the Workplace Relations Commission.

However, Siptu division organiser Adrian Kane said these discussions “ended without any substantial progress”.

The talks are scheduled to reconvene tomorrow.

Kane added that the “only possibility for the continued operation being secured is if there is a major intervention by the Government”.

Kane also said that Tara Mines has a “strategic role” in the wider national economy and that the “importance of zinc as a critical mineral in transitioning to a carbon neutral economy must be considered by the Government”.

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