In December 2011 two sets of employees were badly let down and lied to by their employers. I was a manager of a small Concession with 11 hard working staff. Rumours started circulating that La Senza was in difficulties . For the following 26 dayswe were led to believe that through hard work and increased sales we could save jobs.
While we spent our Christmas working to save our jobs , the vita cortex workers began their fight for justice. Seeing what had happened to these workers rang alarm bells and we began to prepare for the worst case scenario…La Senza walking away without any financial responsibility to staff. 24 days after Vita Cortex occupied their factory for payments owed to them by a company they had given years of their life to, we found ourselves faced with the same situation. On the 9th of January we knew our time was up and they would leave us with nothing. I spent the day talking to other managers and discussing how we could prevent this. That day we decided to occupy the store in Liffey Valley. This took courage and strength and we got this from the stand the V32 had already started. The rest as they say is history.
The day I arrived back to cork after the occupation Vita Cortex were holding a rally which we attended in solidarity and I cannot believe that 70 days later those workers are still being denied was is rightfully theirs.
The former La Senza and Vita Cortex staff stand in solidarity
An occupation is the last resort for any worker but the truth is while the laws in this country continue to support thegreedy and leaving the burden on the tax payer, you and I, sit-ins will become an everyday occurrence. I believe that these high profile cases are beginning to work and politicians are being challenged to change the laws or at least make them more robust in these difficult times. Those who believed they could hide away from their responsibilities are being forced out into the open and being held accountable and shown to the public for their shameful actions.
Prior to the Chinese presidents visit to Ireland Enda Kenny proudly boasted our 100% record in human rights. He may need to adjust that figure as 32 workers spend their 100th day in a factory fighting for justice for all workers.
Continued thanks and support to the V32 for what you made us achieve