Ministers Joan Burton and Joe Costello visited the Paris Bakery on Monday and met with workers and supporters occupying the premises.
The workers have been left without wages (as detailed here) and are occupying until they find justice. Union representatives had choice words for the visiting Ministers and left them in no doubt that this better be more than a photo opportunity following a disastrous election weekend for Labour. Results are needed for these workers, now.
Transcript follows from the 5th minute of video:
John Douglas, President Irish Congress Trade Unions:
We brought this to Govt’s attention years ago. Connolly Shoes workers in DL who were on strike for the last 3 years still haven’t got their money from the insolvency fund. We’ve had to go to the extraordinary lengths of winding the company up ourselves in the High Court. You’ve had workers sitting-in Vita Cortex, workers sitting-in in La Senza, sitting-in in HMV.
All the cards are stacked against workers. Employers can walk away and leave workers high and dry without any wages and leave them in a legal limbo. The state needs to open up the Insolvency Fund. It needs to believe workers rather than believe employers. It needs to open the Insolvency fund, give workers direct access, emergency access to the insolvency fund and emergency access to social welfare.
These people are destitute. They’ve no money for rent, they’ve no money to feed their children, they’re sleeping on the floor here, they’re being fed by the Dublin public and the government needs to act and act now as a matter of urgency.
This is well known to the government for the last two years, so with all due respect, this company is not insolvent and that’s the problem because once you don’t go insolvent or issue a letter that the directors are insolvent these people won’t get a penny. Not one penny. They’ll be waiting three years and four years and that’s just not fair and it needs action, it needs action now.
Billy Wall, Plasterers’ Union:
There was a liability owed to the Revenue Commissioners during all of this and it goes back as far as 2011. The company…one of the directors within the company has removed assets and I know that the assets are listed..they’re worth about six hundred thousand. So unless the Revenue were to move in here and petition the company for insolvency through the courts – that’s one way for the state to recover some of it’s debt and for these workers then to recover the money that they’re owed [through] the various pieces of legislation.
The records show that…this company tried to remove the auditor, the actual auditor and the Companies’ Registration Office refused them. Legislation needs to be amended that when an employer refuses to pay a worker his wages, or her wages it should be a criminal offence. If an employer was to hand one of these workers their wages and the worker put it in to their locker and their employer opened their locker and took it, that’s theft. That is theft and the legislation needs to be amended.
Thanks to Mark Malone for the video