There is an ongoing occupation by workers of the former Paris Bakery on Moore Street, Dublin, with the owners having shut the place down without having paid over wages owed to their employees.
It has been attracting a lot of attention on social media and the Irish Times even carried a piece on it today.
However, the stand out statement seems to have been Gerry Adams call, following his own visit to the occupied premises, for non-payment of wages to be made a criminal offence as per the following from the “Paris Bakery Employees fighting for the wages” Facebook page…to quote
While obviously theres a degree of populism involved here on the part of SF, there is nontheless a huge issue with regard to the protection afforded to unscrupulous individuals by the concept underpinning limited liability. In cases (such as this one) where the beneficiaries of such limited liability are (as individuals) the owners of substantial assets, should they not be forced to dispose of same with a view to meeting their commitments to their employees???
Knowing people who have fallen victim to similar such fuckers in the past, were SF to run with this particular issue, I would suspect it might be a vote winner…not sure the Pinsters would generally support such a measure however…
I would think this measure is reasonable. A week’s work, once done, is not a recoverable resource, but is a source of the owner’s wealth. I think it’s fair that those supplying such resources deserve protection against non-payment. Those supplying goods can take them back in the case of non-payment. A business owner supplying services would be in a better position to sue for payment through the courts. The workers could sue through the small claims court, but that is delay and hassle for no benefit to anyone. But there’s always unintended consequences to any measure- what would pinsters see as going wrong?
I don’t see how the contract for purchase is relevant. The intended vendor gets to keep your deposit for her trouble, and the goods/property remain hers to sell.
I think conveyancing is a different matter. There are solicitors there to look after the legalities and interests of both parties. If a sale falls through, the seller is financially compensated. It’s not the buyer’s fault if the market has gone south.
The owner of the business is in the same position as the buyer of the property.
Both have signed contracts that declare payment will be made for work carried out.
Both cannot/refuse to pay.
The seller has not been adequately compensated.
€10,000 deposit paid/lost.
But if the builder cannot afford to pay the remaining bills with the proceeds of sale, then they are in an altogether more precarious position.
The buyer may lose some money, but the builder could lose a lot more - even resulting in bankruptcy.
We could even extrapolate this out.
What if the builder cannot pay the brickie ?
Is the builder now a criminal because the original buyer failed to complete ?
Surely non-payment of wages in lieu of hours already worked is a form of theft? Why prosecute the junky who robs a pair of runners over and above the employer who fails to hand over €55,000 in wages (as is the case in this instance)? Whats the difference?
Indeed, in terms of victim-impact, surely non-receipt of wages by an employee of a bakery is of more note than the loss of revenue from a stolen pair of shoes on the part of a department store??
But if the Company has not got the funds to pay the wages, where can it come from? There is talk of people hiding behind Limited Liability companies but without limited companies you will see alot less entrepreneurs willing to take the risk of setting up business, working for 10/20/30 years building it up to only lose everything (house/car/private pension??) if things go pear shaped at some stage.
It is an awful position and hopefully it gets resolved but claiming that it should be a criminal offense is ridiculous IMO. As stated already, if it is found that there has been reckless trading it is a criminal offense.
Rule to pay for work always in advance would solve it without messing with other laws too much.
BTW I know nothing about case and Irish labor law, but could it be that if he just fired them he would be forced to pay severance? Because assuming company director/owner is rational player, then he can choose two outcomes initiate redundancy procedure or just stop paying salaries for time - if redundancy is more complicated but would still leave her/him exposed to owing workers money then there is incentive to just stop paying - and root cause would be not bad will but excessive regulation of labor.