There was fresh hope today that the long-running Vita Cortex dispute could finally be brought to an end.
The owners of the foam manufacturing firm were expected to confirm they would enter into official talks to try to end the 111-day redundancy dispute.
It is understood that a statement was to be released by the company this afternoon confirming their willingness to enter into a mediation process with the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
Those talks are now expected to take place towards the middle of next week at the earliest. Both sides in the redundancy dispute had agreed two weeks ago to enter into “meaningful negotiations”.
An offer to host resolution talks from the LRC was accepted by the workers and their union, SIPTU, on March 23.
The company, however, had sought further information on what the LRC process would involve.
A spokesman for company owner, Jack Ronan, said that those further details had now been received and the company was prepared to go ahead with the process. The 32 workers are seeking ex-gratia redundancy payments of around €370,000 between them.
The owners of the company previously offered to pay just under half of that amount, but the offer was rejected as “derisory” by SIPTU.
Worker Jim Power said today: “We have been calling on Mr Ronan to enter talks, so if that’s what is finally happening, we are grateful for that. It’s a step in the right direction.”
The workers are continuing their 111-day sit-in protest at the plant.
In recent days, the workers had locked the gates to the factory complex to prevent trucks from making deliveries and collections to the Vita Clean sister company, based next to the former foam factory on the Old Kinsale Road.
The workers decided to unlock the gates yesterday, saying that they hoped the gesture would be acknowledged by the company owners.