Victoria’s Secret pays sacked Thai employees $ 8.3m in ‘wage theft’ settlement | Staff’ rights

Greater than 1,000 sacked Thai garment employees who made bras at a manufacturing unit supplying lingerie agency Victoria’s Secret have obtained a landmark $ 8.3m settlement, labor rights activists have mentioned.

Good Alliance Thai closed down its Samut Prakan manufacturing unit in March 2021 after going bankrupt.

The 1,250 laid-off employees – lots of who had labored on the manufacturing unit for greater than a decade – didn’t obtain severance payouts mandated below Thai legislation. A employees ‘rights group additionally claimed that some employees obtained the equal of greater than 4 years’ wages below the settlement.

The manufacturing unit additionally produced underwear for plus-size American manufacturers Lane Bryant and Torrid, owned by Sycamore Companions – however solely Victoria’s Secret contributed to the settlement by way of a mortgage association with the manufacturing unit’s house owners.

Victoria’s Secret confirmed in an announcement that an settlement had been reached, however didn’t disclose the quantity concerned.

“Over a number of months we had been in energetic communication with the manufacturing unit house owners to facilitate a decision,” the corporate mentioned.

“We remorse they weren’t in the end ready to conclude this matter on their very own so to make sure the employees obtained their full severance quantities owed, Victoria’s Secret agreed to advance the severance funds to the manufacturing unit house owners,” it added.

A Myanmar migrant works in a Taiwanese-owned garment factory in the northwestern Thai town of Mae Sot.
<span class="dcr-1usbar2"><svg width="18" height="13" viewbox="0 0 18 13"><path d="M18 3.5v8l-1.5 1.5h-15l-1.5-1.5v-8l1.5-1.5h3.5l2-2h4l2 2h3.5l1.5 1.5zm-9 7.5c1.9 0 3.5-1.6 3.5-3.5s-1.6-3.5-3.5-3.5-3.5 1.6-3.5 3.5 1.6 3.5 3.5 3.5z"/></svg></span><span class="dcr-19x4pdv">A Myanmar migrant works in a Taiwanese-owned garment manufacturing unit within the northwestern Thai city of Mae Sot.</span> {Photograph}: Sukree Sukplang / Reuters

Former employee Jitnawatcharee Panad had clocked up 25 years on the manufacturing unit and mentioned greater than a 3rd of the sacked employees had been girls 45 and older.

“If we hadn’t fought for honest compensation, we would not have obtained something,” Jitnawatcharee, who can be president of the Triumph Worldwide Staff’ Union of Thailandinformed AFP.

“The doorways of the labor ministry had been locked once we went there to hunt assist and the minister did not appear to need to take heed to our downside.”

The settlement is the largest-ever wage theft settlement at a person garment manufacturing unit, the worldwide employees rights group Solidarity Middle mentioned.

“I believe it is extraordinarily unprecedented and represents a brand new mannequin – the size of severance and curiosity paid on it … in addition to direct engagement by the model,” Solidarity Middle Thailand nation director, David Welshmentioned.

For the previous yr, sacked employees and Thai union representatives have protested outdoors Authorities Home in Bangkok calling for his or her pay.

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Confederation of Industrial Labor of Thailand president, Prasit Prasopsuk, mentioned some protesting employees had been charged with legal offences, together with violating public gathering guidelines in the course of the pandemic.

“This case serves as a lesson sooner or later for the federal government… to make sure that international corporations doing enterprise in Thailand allocate some portion of month-to-month revenue for honest compensation when these corporations stop home operations,” he mentioned.

A Employee Rights Consortium report from April final yr mentioned it had documented comparable wage theft instances at 31 garment factories in 9 international locations.

Employee Rights Consortium government director, Scott Nova, mentioned these instances had been simply the “tip of the iceberg” and that the problem of wage theft within the garment business had exploded in the course of the pandemic as clothes orders declined.

He estimated garment employees worldwide had been owed $ 500m on account of manufacturing unit closures and unpaid severance.

Some employees on the Samut Prakan manufacturing unit had obtained the equal of greater than 4 years’ wages final week, he mentioned.

“It is just like the equal of a employee’s life financial savings… and it is merely stolen. What it means to lose that and get it again is troublesome to seize in phrases, ”Nova added.

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