Last night the Vita Cortex Workers secured the fast-tracking of their statutory redundancies. The Department of Socia Protection confirmed that the workers would start receiving their entitlements from next Monday.
The development has to be welcomed. These 32 people have spent the last 48 days and nights living and breathing the air of a closed factory and mingling with the ghosts & memories of happier days. It has been a tough struggle for all concerned. Also, the fight has brought with it the unfortunate reality of financial uncertainty for the workers and their families. And who would deny them this sense of stability after the way these men and women have stood up and shown a nation, rocked by austerity and cutbacks, how to fight against injustice?
Does this development represent a victory? Of course not. It is simply a reflection of the fact that the “powers that be” have recognised that it would be utterly deplorable to allow the workers suffer further economic hardship. We must continue until a full and fair settlement has been achieved.This requires that Mr. Jack Ronan pays the 0.9 of a week per year of service from his vast commercial empire and assets.
The fact that the government are to deliver the workers statutory payment does not in any way dilute the injustice being perpetuated against the Cortex 32. It does, however, allow their families breathing space in terms of mortgage payments and the mounting pile of bills. It allows daughters to worry that little bit less about the well-being of their fathers.
There may be those among you who will hear this news and be inclined to think that – “well sure isnt that enough for them really? If you do then I fear that you may have been missing the point of this struggle. The crux of this fight is to compel Mr.Ronan to honour his commitment to workers who have served the company loyally for 847 years between them.
There is a principle at stake and it is one for which it is worth fighting. We must continue with this fight because its victory will belong to our children and our grandchildren. A victory in this case will go some way to establishing a better and more equitable society for us all.
Let us be blunt. There are elements within the economic and political environment who would like to see this campaign smothered. We will not allow that to happen.
The injustice is plain for all to see ,yet here the workers remain in as close a proximity to limbo as one could possibly find onself in this life. The political system and the wider labour relations process are failing these workers. Words have fallen like the flow of a waterfall but we may as well be wandering through a barren desert for all the meaningful action that we have seen on the part of many.
We have a march & rally on February 11th and we want you all to be there and we need you to be fired up.The workers of Vita Cortex and their families have shown the nation what it means to stand up for one’s rights. They have inspired the Irish people at a time when we most need a spark of inspiration.
This fight will not be lost if SIPTU turns off. This fight will not be lost if the media turns off. This fight will only be lost if each of you, as an individuals, decide to turn off your hearts and your heads.
The online campaign refuses to turn off. We will see this through until the end. We are, as always, keeping her lit.
STAY WITH US.
Darren O’Keeffe & Veronica Marshall
Coordinators of the Support the Vita Cortex Workers Online Campaign