Protesting Paris Bakery workers owed €130,000 in wages

‘Five years of my life I have sacrificed to build this company’


Workers at the Paris Bakery intend to sit in at the Dublin bakery over the weekend in their dispute with the owner over unpaid wages .

Some 15 workers along with supporters occupied the bakery in Moore Street at 12.30pm today.

Attempts between the workers and owner Yannick Forel to negotiate a solution over €130,000 in unpaid wages came to nothing inside the premises this afternoon. Two gardaí were inside this evening with the protesters and are letting people out, but not letting anybody in.

Anti-racism campaigner Shane O’Curry, who is within the premises, said the workers were now resolved to occupy the premises “for the long haul”.

“The owner hasn’t agreed to sign any undertaking to pay the workers. He wants to consult with his solicitors with it. He is gone to Wicklow while he is thinking about it.”

Union officials have supplied food for those inside though there is a shortage of bedding at present. Mandate general secretary John Douglas and Socialist MEP Paul Murphy both visited the Paris Bakery this afternoon.

The workers’ protest entered a third day today as the business owners attempted to remove equipment from the Moore Street restaurant.

The premises was due to close in June as the landlord will not renew the lease. Staff who arrived on Wednesday to seek payment of their wages found the building locked due to what the manager said was a problem with the electricity. It has remained closed since then.

Mr Forel told The Irish Times he did not want to put the business into liquidation because he was in negotiations to sell it to a bigger company but could not give further details.

He hoped to be able to pay the staff, he said.

“Of course I want to pay my staff. I was a chef and I was two times in the same situation. I understand. I have two kids,” he said.

He did not want to appear to be a “bad person”, he said.

“Five years of my life I have sacrificed to build this company.”

The company’s other listed director, Ruth Savill, who was also in the building today told The Irish Times she had been asked to come today by her former partner.

Asked what the arrangement was for staff to get paid, she said: “I don’t know. It’s certainly out of the company’s hands now so I think that will all have to be done through appropriate channels.”

Asked why it was out of the company’s hands, Ms Savill said she was not employed by the company, she said she was not in a position to make an official comment and that she was not involved in the company’s day-to-day business.

“I think it’s a shame that we tried to do something that was good and decent and honest and that circumstances have conspired against us.”

Asked whether it was decent and honest not to pay staff, Ms Savill said: “Well, if the money isn’t there, how can you magic it out of the air?”