Date Released: 30 June 2014
Paris Bakery workers can now access insolvency fund
Today the High Court formally wound up Paris Bakery and Pastry Ltd and appointed a liquidator in response to a petition by the Revenue Commissioner. The Revenue Commissioner had intervened after a 19-day sit-in by Paris bakery workers.
The Paris Bakery sit-in began on Friday 23rd May when employers Yannick Forel and Ruth Savill locked workers out, refusing to pay the workers or to wind up the company, and ended on Tuesday 10th June with the intervention of the Revenue Commissioner. The company owes over €150,000 in wages and entitlements to some 25 workers.
Speaking outside the high court, former Paris Bakery employee Eduard Claihnet said “Today a liquidator was appointed, which means we will now be able to access the insolvency fund, as well as the money awarded by the LRC to exploited workers, hopefully. We are delighted that the government has stepped in to wind up the company; they, too, are owed over €100,000 in taxes. The liquidator has already made contact with us; we’re relieved that the end is in sight at last.”
Mr Claihnet continued, “However, all the workers still find it hard to believe that our employers have gotten off scot-free. It is unbelievable that what they did is not a crime in Ireland. If I put my hand in the till and stole money I would be prosecuted and punished; but stealing wages does not seem to be taken seriously.”
Anissa Hosany, a chef with the bakery for over 3 years, said “We know that this happens to lots of other workers. We want our experience to help make the situation better for others. The government needs to act quickly to change the law so that business owners can’t simply walk away from their failed businesses without winding it up. Workers who have been abandoned by these businesses need to be allowed access to the Insolvency Fund. This happened to Vita Cortex workers, it happened to La Senza workers – the Government must change the law to make sure we’re the last workers ever to find ourselves in such dire circumstances”.
Anissa concluded, “Today we all feel vindicated, but we are also determined to prevent even one more worker from having to take action like this. Today we are calling on the government to change the laws to protect workers, not unscrupulous employers.”