Wednesday 24 January 2018

No grounds to investigate Vita Cortex over refusal to pay €1.2m in redundancy to 32 workers - watchdog

Ed Carty

THE CORPORATE watchdog has found no grounds to investigate the Vita Cortex company over its refusal to pay a €1.2m redundancy to 32 laid-off workers.

Paul Appleby, the outgoing Director of Corporate Enforcement, has told Government that he has insufficient information about the business' accounts to take action.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said statutory redundancy payments - two weeks wages for every year of service - will be paid into redundant workers' bank accounts and by cheque from next Monday.

The 32 former Vita Cortex workers have been occupying the Kinsale Road plant in Cork for more than 50 days in their fight for what they claim is an agreed redundancy package of 2.9 weeks' pay per year of service.

They refuse to accept the owner of the business Jack Ronan cannot pay.

The Taoiseach said the Government has been told by the watchdog's office that he has examined information on whether Mr Ronan has €374,000 available to add to the redundancy package.

"(Mr Appleby) said that he had considered that information and had taken legal advice and was satisfied he had insufficient grounds to take any action against the company," the Taoiseach said.

Mr Kenny, who met the laid off workers last week, also revealed that solicitors for Vita Cortex have written to trade union representatives at Siptu (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union) warning that they are considering legal action in an attempt to bring the sit-in to an end.

A report is being compiled by Government for the Labour Relations Commission in a renewed effort to seek agreement on the redundancy packages.

"I do feel for these workers, there's a moral responsibility here," Mr Kenny said.

Labour Party TD Ciaran Lynch had earlier asked Mr Appleby's office to examine the accounts of the firm.

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