Distributed at the SIPTU Vita Cortex protest, Dáil Eireann, Thursday 12th January 2012

TEXT of leaflet:


The slogan outside the Vita Cortex factory says it all: €2.5 million for three company directors. No redundancy pay for 32 workers with 847 years service.

Vita Cortex is a company that was asset stripped by its owner Jack Ronan. He is involved in a web of of companies and has claimed that money for the redundancy should come from one that is controlled by NAMA. For their part NAMA disagrees. meanwhile workers, who have put in 40 years service in some cases, had to occupy over Christmas just to get basic redundancy payments.

The workers initial demand was for 2.9 weeks redundancy pay for every year’s service. That modest sum was the going rate throughout the Vita Cortex group. But the company wants to treat workers like disposable hankies and just throw them out the door.

Ronan is trying to move production to Athlone to boost his profits. Despite all the talk of everyone pulling together to ‘help the country’, he has no interest in the welfare of his workers.

Worse, he is now trying to manoeuvre a situation where the government picks up the tab for the redundancy payments through the Social Insurance Fund. As the recession grows other employers are likely to follow this pattern while leaving their workers waiting for up to a year for payment.

Yes another basic ‘threshold of decency’ has been crossed as the employers seek to take back every right the workers have won in the past.

Occupation: an example to follow

The Vita Cortex workers have become a powerful symbol for how workers are treated in Ireland in 2012. the United Left Alliance commend them on the brave stance they have taken.

We urge other workers to start following their example. This has already started to happen as workers are also in occupation of an unemployed centre in Cork and have taken over the La Senza shop in the Liffey Valley retail park in Dublin.

the employers need to get the message: workers will not be walked upon and if they try to tear up our rights , their property will be seized.

The main issue now is t0 carry through the struggle to ensure victory to the Cork workers.

  • The Government TDs who claim to support the workers must move beyond talk to action. Ronan should be told that if he does not pay off his debts to workers, more of his companies will be taken  by the state. Fir the past three years, both the FF-Green government and the FG-Labour government have jumped to the tune of the bankers. Now workers are demanding support.
  • SIPTU should carry through on its promise to call national solidarity action. Its members in the Vita Cortex plant in Athlone should be asked to boycott any worked transferred from Cork. And there should be a national solidarity stoppage to restrict the ability of employers to make workers redundant just to boos their profits and to ensure that they pay out fully if they can prove that have no other option.
  • The government should provide support for alternative jobs for those who wish to stay in employment. if bankers can take €70 billion of the Irish state, then workers must also get support to protect their livelihoods.

Issued by United Left Alliance

For further information contact Mick Barry on 087 2052722 or Vanessa O’Sullivan on 087 1476982