Vita pay deal funds released

The long-awaited deal to secure the Vita Cortex workers ex-gratia redundancy was finally signed off on yesterday.

Sources confirmed funds to pay the workers were released to Vita Cortex owner Jack Ronan yesterday morning. It clears the way for him to trigger the process of transferring funds electronically in to his ex-workers’ accounts from this morning.

It is expected the process will take no more than two days.

The former foam factory on Cork’s Kinsale Rd closed on Dec 16. Since then, the ex-workers have maintained a sit-in at the plant in pursuit of their ex-gratia redundancy payments.

It is hoped all the money will be transferred by tomorrow, letting the ex-workers end their sit-in.

News that the deal was done came last night as the ex-workers marked the five-month anniversary of what is now regarded as the longest such protest of its kind in Irish industrial relations history.

The workers’ campaign has won widespread national and international support from more than 20 countries.

Among the high-profile figures to back the workers’ campaign were Alex Ferguson, Christy Moore, Noam Chomsky, Paul McGrath, and Cillian Murphy.

The breakthrough which finally brought the dispute to an end came two weeks ago after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations involving Siptu general secretary Joe O’Flynn, union officials Anne Eager and Gerry McCormack, with company representatives and IBEC.

It led to an offer from Mr Ronan and the McHenry family, who used to own the firm, which the ex-workers endorsed on May 2.

The terms of the deal will remain confidential but it provided for the phased payment of redundancy payments directly into the bank accounts of the ex-workers.

However, they agreed to continue their sit-in until everyone was paid.

Siptu is finalising plans for the sit-in to conclude towards the end of this week.

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