I'm United with you, Fergie tells sit-in staff
VITA Cortex workers have spoken of their amazement after getting a call from Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson - who himself led the apprentice strikes in Glasgow in 1961 - told the sit-in protesters he was "right behind them".
The workers have entered the 61st day of their action over redundancy payments at the former foam packaging plant in Cork.
Ferguson, a lifelong British Labour Party supporter, phoned employee Jim Power to express his support and admiration for what they were doing.
He told Mr Power of his involvement in the 1961 shipyard strikes and that he understood their plight. Even rival Liverpool fans at the sit-in were excited by the call, Mr Power revealed.
The legendary football manager found out about the protest from Dave O'Connor of Suit Distributors, which supplies some of Fergie's formal wear.
The tailor was at the club's training ground in Carrington yesterday to measure up the 70-year-old Scot for a range of suits.
He rang Mr Power, a United supporter, to tell him Fergie would be on the phone and an hour later the worker took a call from the manager.
Mr Power said it was "amazing" of him to ring.
Former president Mary Robinson, singer Christy Moore and linguist Noam Chomsky have also given their backing.
Jack Ronan, who owns the company, said he does not have the funds to pay redundancies. The workers have received their statutory entitlements but Vita Cortex has claimed inability to pay a further €372,000.