Former Vita Cortex staff end sit-in


Cheers  of pride and celebration greeted the former Vita Cortex workers who marked an end to their factory sit in shortly before 3pm today, the 161st day of their protest.

The 23 workers clasped hands and pumped fists as they walked from the foam manufacturing plant on the Tramore Road in Cork for the final time.

These were emotional moments for workers and their families who endured five and a half months sharing day and night shifts at the factory since its closure last December.

Tributes and congratulations flowed in from the group’s global support network as the workers marked the end of their sit-in to secure workers’ redundancy payments.

A beaming Jim Power, who worked at the company for 42 years, said he hoped the workers efforts could be an inspiration to others. “We are elated. We’ve been waiting over five months for this moment to come and now it’s upon us," he said. "We hope that we have set a precedent here for other workers and when this kind of thing happens again, if they do what we did, they will achieve something so hopefully we have been some kind of inspiration,” he said.

Cal O’Leary, from Fairhill in Cork gave 40 years service to the company. He said there were desperate times but today, all 23 workers are on a high.

“When it started, I honestly thought we’d be finished by Christmas. At certain points it was desperate, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But today I’m on a high, I can’t seem to come down, people have come from all over the place to support us and there’s such a great buzz,” he said.

His daughter, Jude O’Leary, echoed the sentiments of the workers’ families as she told of the pride she felt for her father and his colleagues. “We are just so proud of him. But it was hard. They all kept each other going. Today is brilliant, they are unbelievable, it’s fantastic,” she said.

The 161-day protest ended after final payments to remaining staff filtered through to bank accounts this morning.