Vita Cortex workers are continuing their sit-in until they receive the outstanding amount per year of service, which comes to a total of €372,000.

The Department of Social Protection has accelerated processing Vita Cortex redundancy claims and has paid out their full statutory redundancy entitlement of two weeks per year of service capped at €600 per week.

The Government Department has said that they will recoup the additional funds from workers to offset against the statutory redundancy bill for the taxpayer.

Jack Ronan, the owner of Vita Cortex Industries, has said that neither the company nor he personally is in a position to meet the redundancy payments.

The only funds that might be used are in an account pledged as collateral for a loan some years ago.

That account is now under the control of NAMA, which has also said it cannot release the money.

Union reaction

SIPTU official Anne Egar has stressed that the actual employer of the workers is Vita Cortex industries.

She acknowledged that funds would be recouped if Vita Cortex Industries made additional payments.

However, she pointed out that Mr Ronan personally was not the employer so the Department restrictions might not apply if he made an ex-gratia payment from his own resources.

Ms Egar acknowledged that Mr Ronan had no legal obligation, but said SIPTU felt he had a moral obligation to make payments to workers who had given his company so many years of service.

A spokesperson for the Labour Relations Commission has said that after they were contacted by the Taoiseach they had tried to establish a basis to reconvene talks but had been unable to do so.