28 June, 2021300 garment workers producing for lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret protested against unpaid wages and severance pay in front of Brilliant Alliance Thai Global Ltd. (BAT) in Thailand.
The 300 workers held placards with messages like "where is our owner?" and "I will not run away as your previous owner". The workers are demanding that the lingerie company immediately settle the payment in accordance to Thai law.
The factory closed on 10 March without prior warning and 1,388 workers were dismissed. The workers have yet to pay wages, overtime, holiday and severance pay. BAT offered to pay back the owed amount over a 10-year period, which was rejected by the workers.
On 23 March, the provincial labour welfare and protection office of Samut Prakarn ruled that the company violated multiple sections of the Labour protection act and must pay THB242,689,862.71 (US$7.61 million) to 1,237 complainants. Failing to do so after 30 days, a default interest of 15 percent per year would be charged.
In email exchanges between IndustriALL Global Union and Clover Group, the parent company of Brilliant Alliance Global Ltd. based in Hong Kong, the company claimed that it had given a proposal to Triumph International Thailand Labour Union and was in the process of filing a bankruptcy notice. The union says the proposal of giving payment over 10-year period is unacceptable.
Prasit Prasopsuk, president of Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT), says:
“It is extremely disappointing that the company violated basic labour laws and ignored the order of the labour inspector. The company claimed they had negotiated with the union, but in fact the company unilaterally asked the union to accept instalment payments lasting up to 10 years.
“This only benefits the company. We cannot accept the offer and call on the company to comply with the labour inspector’s order by expediting payments to employees as quickly as possible.”
Annie Adviento, IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary says:
“We call on the company to immediately pay the workers in full, according to the order of the provincial labour office. The Clover Group’s customer Victoria Secret must intervene in the dispute to protect workers’ rights.”