Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson boost for sit-in workers

Thirty-two workers on sit-in at a shut down factory in Ireland earned a massive morale boost after Sir Alex Ferguson joined a growing line of supporters.

The Manchester United manager phoned lifelong fan Jim Power at the Vita Cortex plant in Cork to voice his admiration for their stand.

The staff are now on the 61st day of a sit-in as they fight for owner Jack Ronan to pay up full redundancy packages.

Sir Alex's support has seen him join the ranks of activist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, human rights champion Mary Robinson, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and folk singer Christy Moore.

In a phonecall on Monday afternoon, Sir Alex told the workers: "I'm really proud of you standing up for what you think are your rights - you are perfectly right and it's the correct thing to do. Stick in there.

"We are all behind you and I'm glad that it's all United fans there because you have more courage than the rest. Well done."

A spokesman for Siptu, one of Ireland's largest trade unions, which is representing the workers, said it was very encouraging on the back of all the other support.

"It's another massive morale boost for the workers sitting in - even for those who don't support Manchester United, even if you are a Liverpool fan," he said.

The vast majority of workers are believed to be Man Utd fans. The call was set up after Sir Alex's tailor, Dave O'Connell from Cork-based Suit Distributors, was measuring him up for a suit last weekend and explained the lengths the workers have gone to.

It is understood Sir Alex, a one-time shop steward, told Mr Power he had been involved in the apprentice strikes in the shipyard in Glasgow in 1961.

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