Date Released: 07 April 2017
A sit-in by workers in Tara Mines in County Meath has entered its fifth day (Friday, 7th April) as staff in the mine highlight their concerns over health and safety following a unilateral move by the company to change the operation of the underground ambulance cover at the facility.
SIPTU Organiser, John Regan, said: “The workers in Tara Mines felt that they had no option but to take this action. The current agreed ambulance cover has been in place for 35 years. Underground workers of all grades in the company are disappointed that there is an attempt to impose a change to the system without agreement with the workplace safety committee.
“Concerns around the change include a lack of appropriate training and a move from a phone system to a radio system. Unions say that workers feel radio coverage is not adequate and is not equal to the phone system. It is extraordinary that in a week that Tara Mines complimented its employees for recording a year free from any lost time incidents in the mine, its workers felt compelled to make such a stand concerning a health and safety issue.”
He added: “Following an intervention by the Workplace Relations Commission, a conference took place yesterday (Thursday, 6th April). However, this did not result in an agreed solution that ensured workers of a safe working environment.
“New Boliden, the Tara Mines parent company, must take ownership of this very serious health and safety situation as its local management seem entrenched in its position to implement the new system. Management has so far refused to accept a request by the workplace safety committee for an independent consultant to assist in the process of deciding on what ambulance cover system to utilise. The workplace safety committee believes that an acceptance of this process would immediately allow the workers to return to work.”