The Department of Social Protection needs to conduct a rigorous assessment of the claim by Vita Cortex that it is unable to pay the redundancy due to the 32 former workers at the Cork plant, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson and Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath stated, “Now that Vita Cortex has formally claimed inability to pay the redundancy due to the 32 former workers, the Department of Social Protection needs to thoroughly assess the application and conclude whether or not it stands up. The latest set of publicly available abridged accounts for Vita Cortex (Ind.) Limited shows that the company made a profit of €366,000 during the 16 months to the end of April 2010.
“The accounts also show that the company was owed €1.6m by its debtors at the time, including an amount of €712,000 due from Web Circle Limited – a company of which Mr. Ronan was a Director and his family owned a sizeable share – for ‘management charges’. The question should be answered as to whether these management charges have since been paid to Vita Cortex (Ind.) Limited by Web Circle Limited.
“It is most disappointing that the Government has not to date engaged in a meaningful way with the former workers. The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton or the Jobs Minister Richard Bruton should have given the former workers the courtesy of a meeting and explored every avenue to assist them. This is the least they deserved after the ordeal they have been through in recent weeks. Instead, the Government have washed their hands of the issue and suggested it is a matter for the Labour Relations Commission.
Deputy McGrath also criticised the company for claiming that the sit-in by the former workers was jeopardising the 60 remaining jobs in the company, “By refusing to pay the former workers what they are entitled to, the blame for all the negative publicity the company is getting lies firmly at the feet of Vita Cortex. It is disingenuous of the company to claim that the former Cork workers are jeopardising jobs elsewhere in the country. Any reputational damage to the company has been self-inflicted. The best way for Vita Cortex to end the ongoing publicity the business is receiving is to arrange for the former workers to be paid their entitlements and allow them to go home to be with their families.