THE BOARD and management of Vita Cortex have confirmed they have pulled out of the mediation process being overseen by the Labour Relations Commission.
The company said it had ended all engagement with the LRC’s talks yesterday evening, a decision which “was not taken lightly”.
Vita Cortex said its withdrawal had been led by the fact that there “continued to be a significant distance between the two parties’ positions”.
Management also said they had a difficulty dealing with SIPTU on behalf of the workers, as not all of the former staff laid off by the company shortly before Christmas were members of that union.
“Vita Cortex is not satisfied with SIPTU’s proposal to deal with demands from two thirds of the workers for whom they represent in isolation of the remaining third of the workers,” the company said in a statement.
“Any agreement that may have been reached would have to include a full resolution and agreement with all workers who were made redundant.”
The Labour Relations’ Commission’s appointed mediators, led by former Labour Court chairman Kieran Duffy, were informed of the withdrawal yesterday evening.
The 32 workers involved in the dispute – who have been occupying the Vita Cortex facility on Cork’s Kinsale Road for 117 days now – are seeking 0.9 weeks of payment for every year of service, as part of a redundancy package.
They claim similar packages were paid by agreement to staff who were laid off in 2009 and 2010.
The workers received their statutory entitlements, of 2 weeks’ pay per year of service, from the Department of Social Protection two months ago.