Management and government urged to work with unions to secure jobs
Trade unions Unite and Connect, which represent workers at the Drogheda magnesia plant Premier Periclase, have welcomed the news that the European Commission last week approved a scheme of supports for companies facing liquidity and energy-cost challenges, as provided for by the Commission’s Temporary Crisis Framework. In a statement issued today (Sunday), the unions called on the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to ensure that Premier Periclase – currently threatened with closure in the wake of spiralling energy costs – is fast-tracked for assistance under the new scheme, and that the company receives any bridging assistance required before the scheme is fully operational.
Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Tom Fitzgerald said: “Further to the Temporary Crisis Framework adopted in March following the invasion of Ukraine, the Tanaiste has now informed us that the European Commission granted approval on August 11th for a scheme of special loans and grants to support companies facing associated liquidity and energy-cost challenges. This is very welcome news, and we have asked the Tanaiste for an assurance that Premier Periclase will be fast-tracked for assistance under this scheme, and that any bridging assistance required prior to these supports being finalised will be provided”.
Connect Regional Official Tom Faulkner added: “Unite and Connect are urging the company’s new owners and management, as well as the Department and Enterprise Ireland, to work with unions to devise a rescue plan which will avert closure of the plant, and save our members’ jobs and protect the local economy. Premier Periclase is one of just a handful of independent producers of seawater magnesium internationally, and is well-placed to exploit future market demand for new magnesium products as technologies incorporating magnesium move from R&D to market introduction”.
Concluding, Tom Fitzgerald said:
“The unions’ priority is to protect jobs and skills going forward, and we hope all stakeholders will work with us to achieve that aim”.