The news that Tara Mines, in Navan, Country Meath, has been placed under care and maintenance until further notice, with indefinite layoffs, has shocked the workers and local community and plunged them into great uncertainty. Around 650 workers employed by the mines, which is owned by the Swedish company, Boliden, will be facing job losses but many more workers will be affected too following a closure.
This company is a profitable one. It is the largest zinc mine in Europe and the eighth largest in the world. It has operated almost uninterrupted for 44 years. The company has made €5 billion in profit since 2010 and last year the CEO was paid €1.4 million. Workers should demand the opening of the company’s financial books to trade union inspection to see exactly what is and has been happening to the profits.
This isn’t the first time that the company has threatened mass job losses and closure. In 2009, the company used that threat to force the workers to agree to significant pay cuts and changes to working conditions. The company has also diverted investment away from health and safety while flooding in the mines is considerably reducing output.
These mines are critical economic infrastructure. What is happening in Tara mines illustrates the need for public ownership of resources under democratic workers’ control. The deposit in Tara mines was actually discovered by the Electricity Supply Board, a state-owned energy company, in 1968, but it was then sold off to a private company for the profit of individuals who can then decide to lay off their workforce if they wish. These resources should belong to us, the working class!
Militant Left send our full solidarity with all of the workers and their families affected by the closure of Tara Mines and we will continue to stand with workers who face job losses and cuts to terms and conditions.
- Nationalise the mines under democratic control and management by representative trade unions, the community, and elected representatives.
- Trade union rates of pay for all mine employees and supply chain workers.
- Make health and safety the priority.
- Guaranteed continued employment during any stand down of the mine.