Mainly migrant workers at a Dublin bakery went into occupation yesterday, after their boss closed the factory and started removing equipment. Here is their statement, written before the occupation began:
We the workers have been picketing the Paris Bakery & Pastry Ltd on Moore St, Dublin since Tuesday 20th, 2014. This is in response to our employers Mr Yannick Forel and Ms Ruth Saville failure to pay us wages owed of over €55,000.
We the workers were locked out, an old tactic used by unscrupulous employers. We feel disappointed, angry, cheated, frustrated, and betrayed. We have had no response from these employers and we will now stage a sit in until we get back our stolen wages.
Beatrice Douat said “we are devastated by the action of our employers who have deceived, exploited and abused us. These employers are breaking the law by stealing our wages and the Government should step in and not allow this injustice to happen to workers”.
We the staff of Paris Bakery are waiters, managers, bakers, chefs and kitchen porters. We have worked hard to keep our jobs in what has been a very difficult working environment. As everybody knows jobs are hard to come by in Ireland and to keep. Our boss was hard to please; we were required to work in poor conditions, with no health and safety training, no safety shoes in the bakery and kitchen and no contracts of employment. Some workers were paid as little as €5.00 per hour. The Chefs were paid a flat rate but worked up to 70 hours per week. No staff were paid overtime, there was no holiday pay and no breaks. Due to these conditions there was a high turn high turnover in the bakery and restaurant.
Anissa Hosany, a mother of two said, “we are all worried about our money, our futures; some of us can’t pay the rent and are worried about supporting our children at this time. One of our colleagues has become homeless as a result of this. We are also worried about finding employment without references”.
We the workers want to refute the employer’s claim that the government and the workers are at fault for the failure of his business. The employers have known that this building was to close for a long time. We assert that it is poor business management and planning that has created this situation.
We are all worried about our money, our futures; some of us can’t pay the rent and are worried about supporting our children at this time. One of our colleagues has become homeless as a result of this.You can follow the occupation on the Paris Bakery’ s employees fighting for their wages Facebook page, and on Twitter via #parisbakery. Workers Solidarity Movement are also providing lots of updates on their Facebook. Finally, the Paris Bakery occupiers are calling on their supporters to sign a petition demanding that they are paid their owed wages.
The Paris Bakery workers are calling on Mr Yannick Forel and Ms Ruth Saville of Paris Bakery & Pastry Ltd to pay us our outstanding wages immediately.
We also call on the following consumers of the Paris Bakery – Demonware, Terra Madra, the Science Galley, Cinnamon, The Westerbury Hotel, La Masion, Hot Stove, Lilliput, FX Buckey, Food Game, Honest to God, Rygby’s, Artiseins, Bakery, Fontana Café, Organge Tree Bakery - not to accept goods until We are paid our wages.
The general secretary of the Mandate trade union is John Douglas is also occupying the building along with the employees. Douglas says that the situation is similar to that which occurred before in the case of workers at Vita Cortex, La Senza, HMV and others where workers were forced to take “extraordinary actions to receive unpaid entitlements”.