Sinn Féin Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has expressed huge disappointment and worry at the news that the Swedish company Boliden, owners of Tara Mines has put 670 workers on protective notice.
Deputy Tóibín said Tara Mines is pivotally important to Meath and each of the individual families working at the mine.
“I am calling on Tara Mines to honour wage agreements with workers that have hardly had times for the ink to dry on their wage agreement. Just eight months ago workers and Boliden entered into a wage agreement that was to run until 2014 and before we have even reached the half way period Boliden is seeking to renege on the deal.
“Protective notice has been placed on employees despite the fact that they are positively engaging with management and despite the fact that the case is in the process of going to the LRC.
“Boliden has owned Tara Mines since 2004 and has in each year bar one made a healthy profit from the extraction royalty free of lead and zinc ore. This is happening when both lead and zinc prices are rallying and are at or are close to their annual high point.
“Many people in Meath fear that this is now happening as part of a company plan to limit liabilities during a possible wind down of the site for closure or part closure in 2018. There are also concerns that the company may be using upcoming potential royalties associated with new permits or licences for the extraction of significant new ore bodies located close to the mine as justification to shift the cost on to the workers.
“It is very important that in the case of Tara Mines and in all other such cases throughout the state that we do not let multinational corporate muscle shirk their responsibilities and take money out of the country’s pocket or the worker’s pockets in this way.
“I am urging the company to withdraw protective notice and properly engage with staff and unions neither of which has been found wanting with regards enhancing non pay related competitiveness in the past.”