Workers at Cork plant stage sit-in over redundancy pay


WORKERS AT a Cork manufacturing plant that closed yesterday have staged a sit-in in a bid to secure redundancy payments.

Floor staff at the Vita Cortex Industries plant said they would remain on the premises for “‘however long it takes” as the final shift ended at the foam manufacturing plant.

The company says €1.25 million to pay the workers’ redundancies has been frozen in the accounts of a sister firm that is now controlled by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Cal O’Leary, from Fairhill, who spent 44 years working with the company, said the protest was the workers’ “last resort”.

“They handed us our redundancy papers, we have them in our hands, but they have not budged over the payments. We are up the creek over this. People are very angry and worried about what to do next.”

All 32 floor staff pledged to remain at the plant indefinitely yesterday as Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin visited the site in a bid to resolve the situation.

The employees have been let go with just one week’s wages.

Company owner Jack Ronan said all the assets of the Cortex Group have been pledged to Nama following a €10 million loan from AIB, but there was €2.5 million on deposit which was also a security.

Nama says it is not responsible for the redundancy payments and has no financial relationship with the company.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch said Nama needed to carry out an assessment of Vita Cortex company accounts.

“There seems to be a financial merry-go-round. I believe Nama need to carry out a broader assessment of the Vita Cortex empire and establish if there is connectivity between the different plants and companies.”