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Alex Ferguson Phones Vita Cortex Workers with Support February 14, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Trade Unions.
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Spotted this on LookLeft’s Facebook page.

Football legend Alex Ferguson supports the Vita Cortex workers

Date Released: 13 February 2012

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson made a surprise phone call to the Vita Cortex workers on Monday (13th February) afternoon to tell them he supported their fight and to “stick in there” until they secured victory. The football legend, and committed trade unionist, expressed his admiration and support for the workers’ stand for justice. He told the workers that he had been involved in the apprentice strikes in the Clyde ship yards in Glasgow in 1961 and that he understood what they are going through in their battle to secure their agreed redundancy terms.

SIPTU Organiser, Anne Egar, said; “It was a magical moment to hear Alex Ferguson give his backing to the workers and reassure them that they will succeed if they stick together and fight for what is just. When someone like Alex Ferguson tells you perseverance and teamwork will see you win out it is of course a huge boost.”

Vita Cortex worker Jim Power, who spoke to Alex Ferguson, described the phone call as a “massive boost”.

“He spoke about his involvement in an apprentice boys’ strike in Glasgow in 1961 and told us to ‘stick in there. I’m a Manchester United supporter so I’m delighted but everyone here, even the Liverpool FC guys, are saying ‘fair play’.”

The phone call from Alex Ferguson was received two days after Cork city centre came to a halt as over 5,000 people marched in solidarity with the Vita Cortex workers. The march began outside the SIPTU offices at Connolly Hall, Lapps Quay, at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday (12th February), and was described by Gardaí as the largest protest in Cork in recent years.

The people of Cork applauded the Vita Cortex workers as the march made its way along Patrick’s Street ending with a rally on Grand Parade.

Addressing the rally, SIPTU Organiser Anne Egar thanked the Cork Council of Trade Unions (CCTU) for organising the event and the people of
Cork for their “support from Day One” for the workers in their struggle to secure their agreed redundancy terms.

Anne Egar said the Vita Cortex workers had shown “stamina and principle” in pursuing their fight for justice and would not succumb. She added that Vita Cortex owner, Jack Ronan, should “pay his bills and not expect everyone else to pick up his tab.”

Vita Cortex worker, Martina Anderson, told the crowd that the fight to secure their agreed redundancy payments had been hard on the workers and their families but they were determined to see justice done.

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe O’Flynn, pledged the union’s support for the workers and said all was being done to bring a just conclusion to the dispute. CCTU president Anne Piggott spoke of the workers resolve in the face of an employer who refused to honour his obligations.

The Vita Cortex workers are entering their third month occupying their former workplace on the Kinsale Road, Cork. The facility was closed on the 16th December with company management claiming they could not honour the workers agreed redundancy terms.

The Vita Cortex workers are seeking payment of an agreed ex-gratia redundancy package of 0.9 weeks per year of service. The full amount needed to fund these payments is just over €370,000.

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1. EamonnCork - February 15, 2012

There’s a short piece in Tony Cliff’s autobiography A World To Win about Ferguson’s role in that apprentices strike. Cliff reckoned that Ferguson had the makings of an outstanding left wing activist before he chose professional football instead. The SWP’s loss was Manchester United’s gain.

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