Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Vita Cortex

Labour Court chairman to lead Vita Cortex LRC talks

The Labour Relations Commission confirms that Kevin Duffy, chairman of the Labour Court, will lead resolution talks.

THE LABOUR RELATIONS Commission has told the former workers at the Vita Cortex foam manufacturing plant that the chairman of the Labour Court has been appointed to lead discussions on finding a resolution in the talks.

The employees this afternoon said they had been told that Kevin Duffy, the Labour Court chair, would lead a three-person team which also includes Jack Nash and John Doherty, two other former Labour Court officials.

The team of three will act as mediators “in talks with are expected to commence shortly”, the employees said.

SIPTU organiser Anne Egar said the workers were now awaiting contact from the LRC to when the mediation talks would begin, and the form they would take.

Company owner Jack Ronan has previously indicated a willingness to enter talks to resolve the dispute.

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.

Separately, a second company half-owed by Jack Ronan which recently held significant debts to Vita Cortex has applied to be struck out.

Web Circle Ltd, in which Ronan owns 50 per cent, owed €712,370 to Vita Cortex (Ind) Ltd in April 2010, according to the latter’s most recent available accounts.

Ronan had previously said he was unable to move assets between his various companies in order to meet the workers’ demands, a claim SIPTU described at the time as “incredible”.

Read: Vita Cortex workers “hopeful” about LRC meeting

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