Laid-off workers forced to wait on payments
FORTY workers who are to lose their jobs just nine days before Christmas may not get their redundancy payments until the New Year because of a financial wrangle with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
The workers at the Vita Cortex plant on the Kinsale Road in Cork will be laid off tomorrow after the firm's assets were frozen on the orders of NAMA.
That arose because the firm's owner secured a €10m loan from AIB for its purchase -- with the plant used as a collateral guarantee.
NAMA then became involved and ordered that the firm's assets be frozen pending a resolution to the outstanding loan issue.
Because of the NAMA order, redundancy payments have not been made to workers.
Vita Cortex shop steward Sean Kelleher said NAMA had clearly dragged its feet over an issue that had been under negotiation for months -- and that workers had been left in a nightmare situation.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan is to be briefed on the wrangle and trade union SIPTU has demanded that he order NAMA to release funds so that redundancy payments can be made before Christmas.
The union pointed out that, even after redundancy payments are made, there would still be €1.25m left in the company's main cash account.
SIPTU complained that despite repeated meetings with NAMA it was still unclear about the property management agency's position on the redundancy issue.