Paris Bakery workers to protest at Dáil over unpaid wages

Former employees seek closure of legal loophole where firms cease trading

Workers at the Paris Bakery in Moore Street are staging a sit-in protest over the non-payment of wages. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Workers at the Paris Bakery in Moore Street are staging a sit-in protest over the non-payment of wages. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 16:21

Former workers at the Paris Bakery on Moore Street in Dublin will picket Leinster House tomorrow calling for changes to legislation where companies cease trading without going into liquidation.

About 25 employees and former employees of the acclaimed bakery and restaurant have been left without pay after the business suddenly closed nearly two weeks ago.

It had been due to vacate the Moore Street premises at the end of June as the landlord had decided not to renew the lease.

Some of the staff claim they are owed up to €3,000 each, with a total outstanding wage bill well in excess of €100,000. Bakery owner and director Yannick Forel has estimated he owes them about €130,000.

His co-director, Ruth Savill, has said the business cannot afford to pay the outstanding wages. As the company has not gone into liquidation, the workers have no access to a state insolvency fund.

Workers have been staging a sit-in at the bakery for about 10 days. ESB staff who were sent to turn off the electricity refused to pass the picket. Those on the protest are also being supported by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).

Edel McGinley of MRCI said the workers would protest outside Leinster House tomorrow to call on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Government to change the law.

They would also ask Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to fast-track a process to allow them access the insolvency fund so they could get paid what was owed to them.

Ms McGinley said a core group of workers remained at the Paris Bakery premises. They have also protested outside the Wicklow home of company director Ruth Savill twice in the past week.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) made a submission to the Government in 2012 outlining a remedy for the legal loophole that leaves staff unpaid if a company ceases trading.

Ictu general secretary David Begg noted last month that similar issues had been seen with Vita Cortex, La Senza, HMV, Game, Thomas Cook and Connolly Shoes in recent years.