Cork TD pays tribute to Vita Cortex Workers in call for redundancy reform

2 June 2016
By Tom Collins

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Speaking during a Dáil debate this evening on a Labour Party motion regarding the right of workers, Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire paid tribute to the Vita Cortex workers as he called for redundancy reform.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said;

“In 2011 and 2012, Workers from Vita Cortex in Cork City endured a sit in lasting 161 days, simply to secure fair redundancy entitlements.

Above: Map showing Vita Cortex site, Turners Cross, Cork

“That campaign, and the dignity and resolve shown by the workers during that sit-in, was an inspiration, not only to the people of Cork, but also to workers throughout Ireland. Unfortunately, Workers having to sit in to secure basic statutory rights, and redundancy that they were entitled to, was a hallmark of industrial relations during the term of the last Dáil.

“Workers upon being made redundant do not have adequate protections, and I would urge the Minister to take action on this matter. The German model of redundancy with payments approximate to pay and complemented by training is worth considering.”

Deputy Ó Laoghaire also raised the issue of bogus self-employment:

“This has been for a long time a significant issue as regards the Building Trades, however, I know that it is creeping into other forms of employment, including in IT, and many employment agencies.

“In January of this year, ICTU calculated that this loss is at roughly €80 billion per year, or circa €680 billion since 2007.

“Bogus self-employment allows the company to make an illegitimate saving on tax and employers PRSI, a figure which increases profit by roughly 11%, all at an expense to the exchequer.

For the worker, this can mean no entitlement to holiday pay, sickness or maternity benefit, or even pension contributions. No redundancy, no notice of termination, and no recourse when it comes to a case of unfair dismissal.

“What’s more in some instances, it forces many individuals to engage directly with the revenue themselves, which can be very complex, and often causes significant difficulties and errors, and can end up leaving workers effectively out of pocket. These types of contracts are archaic in nature, must be buried for good, and mechanisms that create a disincentive to exploiting workers must be enacted.”

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