Sunday 18 March 2018

Vita Cortex workers agree redundancy but vow to sit in until money is paid

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

VITA Cortex workers continued their five month sit-in today despite unanimously accepting a compromise redundancy offer last night ending the dispute.

They said their sit-in at the Cork plant will continue until the money actually reaches their accounts.

The redundancy offer -- tabled by company owner Jack Ronan and the firm's shareholders -- is understood to have fallen short of the package demanded by the 32 workers but represented a substantial improvement on the €180,000 settlement tabled in March.

Workers met in a Cork hotel last night to discuss the offer -- and voted unanimously to accept it.

Last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was relieved a resolution had been found.

"The workers have displayed enormous dignity and fortitude throughout their almost 20-week campaign," said Mr Kenny.

"I said in the Dail this week that they deserved respect for their long years of committed and diligent service and I hope today's resolution brings closure to what has been a traumatic period for them."

Today marks the 140th day of the sit-in protest which started on December 16 when Vita Cortex insisted it could not afford to pay workers their redundancy.


Staff members have occupied the Kinsale Road plant in Cork on a shift basis since then.

Under the terms of the deal, workers will now maintain a sit-in presence at the plant for a fortnight until the company has processed the agreed redundancy settlement.

SIPTU's Gerry McCormack said everyone was delighted that the long-running dispute was finally over.

"The workers are satisfied that these proposals, which were agreed following direct talks between SIPTU representatives and the owners of Vita Cortex earlier today in Cork, provide the basis for the full and final settlement of this dispute," he told the Irish Independent.

"The workers are very pleased that, after months campaigning to secure equitable and fair redundancy payments, which take account of their long years of service at Vita Cortex, they can now return to their normal lives satisfied they achieved their objective."

The deal came after Vita Cortex last week rejected an outline settlement proposal from the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

The sit-in reached its 140th day as workers demanded that the company honour a disputed promise to pay 0.9 weeks' wages per year of service.

Irish Independent

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