A bra factory in Thailand that supplied Victoria's Secret with lingerie was able to dismiss more than 1,000 workers. The total compensation was 8.3 million dollars (7.3 millions euros). This announcement was made by workers' rights advocates on Saturday May 28.
Brilliant Alliance Thai, south of Bagkok in March 2021, closed its Samut Prakan factory. The 1,250 workers who were laid off, many of them having worked in the factory for over a decade, did not receive the severance payment required by Thai law.
Although the Sycamore Partners fund owned the factory, only Victoria's Secret contributed financially.
The lingerie brand announced that it had signed an agreement. It did not disclose the amount. "We have been in touch with the factory owners for several months to reach a solution."
"We are sorry that they could not resolve this issue on their own. Victoria's Secret agreed to transfer the funds to factory owners in order to ensure workers get all severance payments due to them. Sycamore Partners declined comment when AFP reached them.
According to Solidarity Centre, this settlement represents the largest settlement ever made by a garment factory in relation to non-payment of work done. These workers were fired and representatives of Thai unions have protested for over a year in front Bangkok's government headquarters to demand the rightful compensation.
According to a report from Worker Rights Consortium in April 2021, similar cases of nonpayment of wages were reported at 31 garment factories in nine different countries.
Scott Nova, executive director of Worker Rights Consortium, said that the cases were only the tip of the iceberg and that the problem has increased during the pandemic due to a drop-in garment orders. As a result factory closings and unpaid severance payments, he estimated that around $500 million is owed by garment workers worldwide.
He said that some workers at Samut Prakan received more than four years' worth of wages last week.