Sit-in workers’ hopes dashed

Hopes of a breakthrough in the protracted Vita Cortex dispute were dashed last night.

The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) told Siptu representatives that there is, as of yet, no basis for direct discussions between the parties.

It followed separate contacts during the week between the LRC and Siptu, and with the other parties to the long-running dispute, including Ibec.

The workers, who are on day 92 of their sit-in today, are now facing another bank holiday in the former foam factory in Cork.

The LRC said it intends to maintain contact with the parties over the weekend.

“We were informed by the LRC that there is no basis for bringing the parties together for direct discussions at this stage,” Siptu’s manufacturing division organiser Gerry McCormack said.

It is hoped that the gap between the two sides can be bridged over the coming days, allowing the LRC to issue invitations to all parties to attend a second round of conciliation talks next week.

The Vita Cortex workers are seeking their agreed redundancy payments of 0.9 weeks per year of service from company owner, Jack Ronan.

They received their statutory entitlements of two weeks per year of service from the Department of Social Protection several weeks ago.

The company offered the workers a redundancy payment of €185,000 last month, which the workers rejected. Siptu branded it as a derisory offer.

Siptu has insisted that the workers will not end their sit-in until the workers get the 0.9 week per year of service payment — a figure in the region of €372,000.

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