SIPTU has said the unilateral release by Tara Mines management of a strategy document proposing voluntary redundancy terms is “reckless” and “aimed more at public relations than negotiating in good faith.”

This follows the announcements yesterday of it’s plan to re-open by management. The have issued  letters to employees about voluntary redundancies that will be needed without consultation with unions.

It also appears that numbers working at the mines will be reduced by as much as 150 or so based on information circulating locally. There is a plan to reduce the production levels at the mine to 1.8 million tonnes compared to its previous targets of 2.6 million tonnes.

The union said that senior figures in the company had gone public with their plans without sitting down with the Group of Unions (SIPTU, Unite and Connect) involved in the long-running dispute.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Regan, said: “The company sent two documents to the unions yesterday evening and had gone public within the hour. That is a slap in the face to the workers involved and a strategy aimed more at public relations than negotiating in good faith.

“The fact that the parties are due to return to conciliation at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Tuesday makes this underhanded tactic even more reckless. Earlier this week, the Labour Court recommended talks on all four issues presented by the unions: voluntary redundancy terms, a date for the recommencement of operations, terminations, and payments to shop stewards.

“These talks have been pre-empted by the management’s decision to negotiate through the media. To date, the company has not even confirmed that they have accepted or rejected the Labour Court recommendation. We do not understand how anyone serious about resolving the dispute could act in this way.

“Over 145 days after unilaterally laying off 650 people, it simply beggars belief that Tara Mines would want workers to find out about their jobs through the local and national media.”