Victoria’s Secret pays $8.3 mn settlement to sacked Thai workers

More than a thousand sacked Thai garment workers who made bras at a factory supplying lingerie giant Victoria's Secret have received a landmark $8.3 million settlement, labour rights activists said on May 28.

Brilliant Alliance Thai closed down its Samut Prakan factory in March 2021 after going bankrupt.    

But the 1,250 laid-off workers - many of whom had worked at the factory for over a decade - did not receive severance payouts mandated under Thai law.    

The factory also produced underwear for plus size American brands Lane Bryant and Torrid, owned by Sycamore Partners - but only Victoria's Secret contributed to the settlement via a loan arrangement with the factory's owners.    

Victoria's Secret confirmed in a statement that an agreement had been reached, but did not mention the amount involved.

The agreement is the largest ever wage theft settlement at an individual garment factory, the international workers rights group Solidarity Centre said.    

For the past year, sacked workers and Thai union representatives have protested outside Government House in Bangkok calling for their pay. A Worker Rights Consortium report from April last year said it had documented similar wage theft cases at 31 garment factories in nine countries.    

Worker Rights Consortium executive director Scott Nova said those cases were just the "tip of the iceberg" and the issue of wage theft in the garment industry had exploded during the pandemic as clothing orders declined.    

He estimated garment workers worldwide were owed $500 million as a result of factory closures and unpaid severance.

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