Yesterday, Tuesday the 10th of June, the Paris Bakery staff called a press conference and released the following statement:
“It’s the 19th day of our sit-in and we are finally leaving the bakery!
We have just received official confirmation that Revenue are going to step in and wind up Paris Bakery. As our employers Yannick Forel and Ruth Savill completely refused to even speak to us – let alone pay us the €100,000 we are owed in wages – the Revenue Commissioner was our last hope. We will now have access to the Insolvency Fund, and we can get on with our lives.
We were shocked to find ourselves in this situation; we couldn’t believe our employers could just abandon us like that and face no penalty at all. They were able to steal our wages, shut the doors and just walk away, leaving us high and dry. 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.
We never expected to have to take such drastic action just to get the wages we already earned. The last few weeks have been extremely stressful for all of us. We couldn’t pay our rent or bills, we were trying to find new jobs while fighting for our back wages, and we didn’t know who to turn to. Through all of this uncertainty we have depended on each other. We started as just a few workers locked out of our workplace, but we have become a family.
We want to thank everyone who helped us since we were first locked out of Paris Bakery on Wednesday 21st. The support and solidarity has been amazing; it kept us going when we had almost lost hope. Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, OPATSI and Mandate were there for us from the start, along with trade unions, individuals and organisations all over the country. Over 3,600 people signed a petition to support us; another thousand emailed the Taoiseach to ask him to intervene. When MRCI set up an emergency fund for us, contributions flooded in. Total strangers turned up out of the blue to give vital supplies, people left supportive messages on Facebook and Twitter, and last Wednesday a huge crowd joined us at the Dáil – with baguettes! – to call on the Government to step in.
As a migrant you never know how people see you or how they will react to you, so we were overwhelmed by the support and solidarity from people all over Ireland. We are so grateful to everyone.
This is not a perfect end to this nightmare. We won’t get all the wages we worked for. However, as our employers refuse to face up to their responsibilities, this is the best we can do.
We are determined to continue to campaign to prevent even one more worker from having to take action like this. This started as an attempt to get our wages back from unscrupulous employers; it has become a movement to strengthen the rights of all workers in Ireland.”
Unite Youth Dublin would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to the Paris Bakery workers. Fantastic work was also done by a range of organisations including Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and Mandate Trade Union. Here’s hoping the workers get all they are owed.