SIPTU cautiously welcomes Tara Mines reopening proposal
SIPTU has given a cautious welcome to today’s statement that Tara Mines is to reopen in the second quarter of 2024. However, the union has said that any further delays “would not be acceptable,” citing the previous reopening in 2001.
John Regan, SIPTU Sector Organiser, said: “The tentative date given by Tara Mines today is a positive development. However, it could mean June 2024 for the first worker to return through the gates.
“If it took seven months before a full reopening, as it did in 2001 the last time the mine was put into care and maintenance, that would mean January 2025 at the earliest for all employees to return to the mine. That timeline would not be acceptable.”
SIPTU also confirmed that the Group of Unions (GOU) at Tara Mines — SIPTU, Connect, and Unite — would be pressing ahead with the Section 20 (1) referral to the Labour Court and the hearing on 18th December this year.
“All unions received a mandate from their section committees to attend the Labour Court on a number of issues, including voluntary redundancy terms and securing the earliest possible date for a recommencement of operations at Tara Mines.
“We acknowledge the company’s late willingness to return to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) conciliation services. However, management’s decision to terminate a number of workers’ employments with the company in recent days severely undermines trust.
“That action is a clear breach of the WRC agreement, which provides for all workers to return to the mine with terms and conditions fully protected. Such a breach tarnishes the company’s credibility when it comes to relying on state machinery in this case.”
The GOU is also concerned that the company has hired a contractor in recent days without any agreement or consultation with unions.
“That is another matter which leaves a bitter tase in the mouth of company employees and leaves industrial relations somewhat strained,” Regan added.
SIPTU believes that both of these issues would need to be resolved before members’ faith in the state machinery was restored and unions could agree to attend WRC conciliation services.