January 24, 2009 / 1:38 PM / 11 years ago

Swedish Boliden says unions accept Tara mine deal

STOCKHOLM, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Boliden (BOL.ST) said on Saturday remaining union members at its Tara zinc mine in Ireland had accepted a cost-cutting package aimed at preventing closure of the mine and the loss of nearly 700 jobs.

“What I know is that they have finished voting now and that they have accepted the proposal,” Boliden spokeswoman Marcela Sylander said.

Sylander said the package put forward by the Swedish copper and zinc miner included adjustments of work shifts, wage levels and of some bonus schemes at Europe’s largest zinc site, in County Meath, north of Dublin.

The SIPTU union, which represents around 350 of the Irish mine’s 670 workers, had already voted earlier this week in favour of a wage cut in order to save the mine from closing.

Remaining employees, including management, engineers and clerical workers represented by separate unions, finished voting after the SIPTU ballot.

Boliden said last month it was cutting zinc production at its Finnish and Norwegian smelters due to falling demand. Demand for zinc, used to galvanise steel for the car and construction industries, has declined sharply following a slowdown in the global economy.

Unions estimate more than 2,000 people employed in companies that provide support services to Tara workers and the Tara site could also be at risk if it were to close.

Some 2.7 million tonnes of ore are mined annually at Tara, which yields zinc and lead concentrates containing up to 200,000 tonnes of zinc and 40,000 tonnes of lead metal.

Reporting by Victoria Klesty, Writing by Niklas Pollard; editing by Patrick Graham

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