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Union protest results in criminal charges

28 January, 2022Police in Thailand have filed criminal charges against two union officials and four other labour activists after speaking at a protest, demanding that the Thai government and brands including Victoria’s Secret pay salaries owed to 1,388 lingerie workers.

The chairperson of the Triumph International Thailand Labour Union, Chitnawatcharee Panad, the president of the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation of Thailand (TWFT), Sia Jampathong, and four other labour activists have been charged by Thai police for violating the Emergency Decree and the Disease Control Act.

“It is wrong for the government to use Covid-19 as an excuse to suppress workers’ legitimate concerns. The 1,388 workers now face severe economic difficulties. The government must drop all charges and investigations,”

says Prasit Prasopsuk, president of the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT).

The charges came after speaking at a protest in front of the government building in Bangkok in October last year. The workers demand that the government assume responsibility for the money owed to 1,388 workers, previously employed by Brilliant Alliance Thai Global (BAT).

The company, which supplied lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, has yet to provide severance pay, wages owed, overtime and holiday pay, totalling THB 242,689,862.71 (US$7.4 million), after closing the factory in March 2021.

“IndustriALL Global Union calls on the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, to drop the charges and respect the workers’ rights to raise their concerns.

"We also call on Victoria's Secret, Torrid and Lane Bryant, who sourced from BAT, to take responsibility for the workers in their global supply chain, to urgently intervene and secure compensation payment to the dismissed workers by putting pressure on the Thai government and the factory, or, if needed, by footing the bill themselves.*

says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie.