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Vita Cortex in talks with NAMA over redundancy payments

Crucial talks are taking place between Vita Cortex owner Jack Ronan and NAMA, which may end a sit-in at the foam packaging plant.

The deal would result in workers eventually being paid the non-statutory part of the redundancy money owed to them worth around €372,000.

Thirty-two workers have been engaged in a sit-in at the Cork city plant over redundancy payments for five weeks.

They want 2.9 weeks pay per year of service and have said they will continue their sit-in until they receive their payments.

If a deal is reached it would end the ongoing sit-in.

The dispute is now over the non-statutory payment of 0.9 of one week's pay per year of service. It amounts to a sum of approximately €372,000.

This follows the company's application to the Department of Social Protection for statutory redundancy payments for the workers, claiming inability to pay. The statutory payment is two weeks' pay per year of service.

According to sources, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has indicated it would be in a position to release the non-statutory redundancy money if Mr Ronan is willing to give them control over an asset of the same value.

The workers have maintained from the outset that Mr Ronan had the capacity to pay the €1.2m redundancy package and claimed funds should be taken from an account in a sister company to pay their redundancy entitlements.

The account was pledged to Allied Irish Banks as security for a loan of over €8m, which is now in NAMA.

NAMA has said it has no liability to release those funds.

Meanwhile separate talks between workers and management aimed at resolving the dispute resumed at the Labour Relations Commission in Co Cork yesterday.

Sources close to the LRC discussions said NAMA had been extremely helpful over the past few days.

Irish Independent