Siptu to step up action in support of Vita Cortex sit-in


SIPTU HAS announced plans to escalate its action in support of 32 former employees of foam manufacturer Vita Cortex, who are occupying the company’s factory in Cork in a bid to get proper redundancy terms.

According to Siptu manufacturing divisional organiser Gerry McCormack yesterday, Siptu officials met the 32 workers at the plant on the Kinsale Road on Thursday and agreed to escalate the dispute.

Mr McCormack said the resources of the union would now be called upon to achieve a just outcome for the workers, who have been involved in a sit-in at the Vita Cortex plant since they were laid off on December 16th.

Workers rejected an offer made by company owner Jack Ronan just before Christmas that they would be paid €1,500 to temporarily lift the sit-in over Christmas so that company management could remove equipment and materials from the plant.

Vita Cortex has said it does not have the money to pay the workers their redundancy but said there was €2.5 million in an account that has been taken over by Nama on foot of its taking over a €10 million loan from AIB to the owners of the company.

However, Nama has said it had no involvement in the redundancy issue and could not legally pay the money as the €2.5 million on deposit related to a separate company and that the redundancy was a matter for Vita Cortex.

Siptu would not rule out any action in its efforts to get a settlement for the workers and their families but said any action would start with protests targeted at the company, Nama and the appropriate Government departments, Mr McCormack added.

“It’s totally unacceptable that this dispute should continue when it’s clear that a solution could easily be found to resolve it,” he said.