Date Released: 05 April 2013
Renowned human rights activist and writer, Noam Chomsky discussed their 161 day sit-in with the former Vita Cortex workers in Cork on Thursday (4th April).
During the ninety minute meeting at the Riverside Hotel the workers including SIPTU shop stewards, Sean Kelleher and Jim Power, and other union members discussed the background to the dispute over redundancy payments, the lengthy occupation of the foam manufacturing plant on the Kinsale Road in Cork and the massive solidarity they received from other workers, trade unions and communities in Cork and across the country.
“He wanted to know how it started and how we responded with the help of our union, SIPTU. He was amazed at the support we received from the wider community and from other unions in Cork and across the country. He was well impressed when we described how the dispute developed over the months and how the support for us grew until we got what we were fighting for,” Jim Power said.
During the Vita Cortex dispute which continued from December 2011 until May 2012, Chomsky along with former President Mary Robinson, singer Christy Moore, Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, footballer Paul McGrath and former Cork hurling manager, Jimmy Barry Murphy, also publicly endorsed the courage of the Vita Cortex workers.
The 85 year old Chomsky also spoke to huge crowds in UCD, the RDS in Dublin and at UCC in Cork during his visit to Ireland over recent days.
A film of the dispute, ‘161 Days’ will be shown at the Jim Connell festival in Kells, county Meath, on Saturday 4th May.