Vita workers to dine at Áras

The workers who spent more than five months occupying a factory in pursuit of redundancy payments have been invited to dine with the President.

Michael D Higgins will host a private reception in Áras an Uachtaráin for some of the former Vita Cortex workers and their families, who made headlines around the world earlier this year with their 161-day sit-in.

They will be joined by Siptu organiser Anne Egar, who represented the workers, as well as Siptu vice-president Patricia King and Siptu general secretary Joe O’Flynn, who played a key role in brokering the deal which brought the dispute to end in May.

The President was among several high-profile figures to send messages of support to the Cork workers during their struggle.

They began their sit-in at the former foam factory on Cork’s Kinsale Rd when the business closed in December.

The sit-in finally ended on May 24, making it the longest dispute of its kind in Irish industrial relations history.

The President wrote to the workers in April saying he was “concerned for their welfare” and was hopeful of a “just and equitable outcome”.

After several failed mediation attempts, and the intervention of senior Labour Relations Commission figures, a severance deal was finally agreed in early May.

The workers maintained their sit-in for another two weeks until everyone was paid.

Other high-profile figures to back the workers’ campaign included singer Christy Moore, writer Noam Chomsky, former soccer star Paul McGrath, and actor Cillian Murphy.

Meanwhile, the President is due in Cork on Saturday to officially open the Academy of Popular Music at the Cork School of Music.

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