The owners of Vita Cortex in Cork have agreed to enter talks with former employees.

The former employees have been occupying their workplace for 111 days in a dispute over redundancy payments.

The Labour Relations Commission has informed SIPTU that the owners of Vita Cortex have agreed to enter mediation talks as originally proposed by the LRC some weeks ago.

SIPTU represents a majority of the 32 workers made redundant in mid-December.

It is understood that the mediation would be overseen by what were described as ''three eminent people''.

Those people have not yet been named as the LRC is still setting up the mediation process.

However, it is understood they could include Labour Court Chairman Kevin Duffy.

The timing of the talks has not been finalised, but union sources said they were anxious to get the process under way as soon as possible.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Vita Cortex owner Jack Ronan's debts are under the control of the National Asset Management Agency.

Last weekend it emerged that NAMA had agreed that if Mr Ronan pledged an unencumbered asset as security, the agency would release funds under its control of equal value that could only be used to pay redundancy to former workers.

However, the sources said that as of last weekend, no assets had been pledged.

SIPTU welcomed the company's decision to enter talks.

No representative of Vita Cortex or owner Jack Ronan could be contacted for comment.