HMV staff in Ireland have won an impressively speedy victory this week. After being told that they wouldn’t be paid wages owed to them when the company went bust, staff at a number of stores went into occupation, and this weekend they managed to secure a commitment that administrators Deloitte would pay all wages in full. As the former staff of HMV Cruises Street in Limerick put it:
“We, the former staff of HMV Ireland have, after much discussion with David Carson & Tom Doheny of Deloitte Ireland reached a settlement regarding wages for all 300 members of HMV Ireland staff. We have achieved a resolution whereby Deloitte have issued a public statement and open letter to all staff concerned firmly committing that all wages owed in arrears will be paid in full by Deloitte by the 25th January 2013.
This achievement would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of the Limerick community, the Trade Unions Association especially Michael McNamara, numerous local businesses and the advice & experience of several local TDs, namely Kieran O’Donnell, Willie O’Dea and Jan O’Sullivan.
On behalf of all the former staff we wish to express our sincere gratitude for every effort made to help us. As a result of the volume of generous donations made to us we are in a position to donate any unused items to the St Vincent de Paul charity.
Again, we cannot thank you enough.
The Former Staff of HMV Cruises St.”
This victory demonstrates the power of direct action – if they’d stuck to lobbying and other accepted channels of protest, they’d have been in a much worse position. It’s worth sharing this story around as much as possible to try and spread their example, because there’ll be more chains closing down in the near future, and the more staff occupy, the better off they’ll be. Many of us are in bleak situations at the moment, but the former employees of HMV Ireland have demonstrated that, no matter how bad things get, there’s always the possibility of improving the situation through collective direct action.