Workers without redundancy as NAMA freezes employer’s funds

UP to 40 workers, who are due to lose their jobs this week, are being deprived of redundancy payments as their employers’ funds have been frozen by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

The Vita Cortex plant at Kinsale Road, Cork is due to close on Friday as its owner, Jack Ronan, secured a loan of €10 million from AIB to purchase the company from its previous shareholders, using the Cork plant as collateral.

Due to this arrangement, three months ago, the company announced the plant’s closure, as its assets had been frozen by NAMA.

The company has met with NAMA several times since, in an effort to have accounts unfrozen so they can make redundancy payments. However, SIPTU say NAMA has not provided them with a response.

Last night, SIPTU called on the property agency to makes its position clear.

SIPTU Organiser Ann Egar said: “The company had advised us that NAMA had adopted a favourable position with regard to releasing the funds, given the situation workers were finding themselves in in the lead up to Christmas. To date, despite assurances that NAMA would give its formal position two weeks ago, we have heard nothing concerning the workers redundancy payments”.

“It is our understanding that NAMA has control over a company bank account with cash assets of €2.5m, the total cost of redundancy payments for the workers would amount to €1.25m”.

Labour party TD, Ciaran Lynch said that he intended raising the issue in the Dáil.

“We saw in last week’s budget that the responsibility for redundancy payments lies with the employer. However, any difficulty around this that is arising from NAMA is unacceptable. I am calling on NAMA to deal with it quickly and appropriately and if there is still difficulty, I will seek the intervention of the Minister for Finance,” he said.

A company spokesman could not be contacted last night.

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