After 139 days of occupying their factory, the Vita Cortex workers have reached an agreement with employer Jack Ronan. By taking decisive action in taking over their workplace and by remaining steadfast, the workers have been partly successful in achieving their extremely modest demands.
The workers remain in occupation at the time of writing, refusing to leave until they actually receive their money. Rightly they have no trust in the word of Jack Ronan and Sean McHenry. The Vita Cortex workers won huge support for their stand, in Cork and around the country. Thousands attended demonstrations in Cork City. Countless ordinary people visited the factory in solidarity and donated food and supplies.
Unfortunately, the trade union leadership nationally never fulfilled Jack O’Connor’s promise to mobilise the strength of the trade union leaders behind the Vita Cortex workers, adding to the length of the dispute. By carrying out their marathon occupation, the workers have done a big service to working class people.
While previous occupations such as Thomas Cook have been dealt with harshly by the state, the support for the workers made this impossible. Instead, their example inspired other workers to take a similar stand. In the past few months, we have seen occupations by workers in La Senza, Game and Cork’s Employment Resource Centre. The stand taken by the Vita Cortex workers will continue to be an inspirational example for workers under attack.