As brothers Liam and Paul Connor successfully took over the running of the main factory with machinists already in place, Paul's wife Carla was keen to set up her own venture - Trendy Tots - specialising in children's clothing. Having initially promised his wife £12,000 to get started, Carla was furious when she learned that Paul had spent the money and she manipulated machinists Kelly Crabtree and Becky Granger to work weekends, early mornings and late nights to raise money for her business.
Orders for Trendy Tots kept flooding in, but Carla soon realised that she'd made a mistake with the accounts and convinced Becky and Kelly to keep working for her (although for £2 an hour less) and asked Becky to ask around the hostel where she was living in order to recruit more staff. Wiki Dankowska, Kasia and another Polish worker called Judy were duly hired.
The Polish employees were praised for their high-quality work and also offered placements within the main factory. The regular machinists were initially unfriendly and rude towards them, with Janice Battersby suggesting that they could be illegal immigrants. Joanne Jackson was initially quick to defend them but her stance soon altered when she was forced to confess to supervisor Hayley Cropper that she herself was living in the UK illegally. When Janice made good her whistle-blowing threat and informed the Immigration Service, they acted promptly on their tip-off and conducted a raid of the factory which led to Joanne being arrested and escorted off the premises.
In mid-April, Carla found herself working to a tight deadline and got her staff to agree to work through the night (even though they had already worked all day), and despite husband Paul pointing out that they would be breaking the law. Having finished sewing a job-lot of dungarees and with the promise of a champagne breakfast as a reward, they were preparing to help load the order into the car when Kasia - who was carrying three big boxes - lost her balance and fell down the stairs. Wiki rushed to the aid of her friend but it was obvious that she had already died.
With Wiki by Kasia's side, a panicked Carla telephoned Paul to seek advice. He insisted that they should pretend that her accident occurred after 8.00am - when she would have been working legally for Underworld, rather than uninsured and out of hours for Carla. The management explained to Wiki that Kasia's family would be entitled to compensation if they stuck to their version of events and the police were eventually called later that morning.
Following a report from the Health and Safety Inspector, Kasia's death was deemed to be an accident and there were no grounds for negligence, despite suspicions from the other machinists.
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