Victoria’s Secret funds ‘historic’ settlement with garment workers
- Victoria’s Secret is funding an $8.3 million settlement between workers in Thailand and their former employer over unpaid severance pay following a factory closure.
- Union groups defending the 1,250 workers – who made bras for Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant and Torrid – say they were fired without legally mandated severance pay in 2021.
- According to Workers Rights Consortium, Victoria’s Secret’s loan to the factory owner is “historic” and “the most a brand has ever contributed to solving a wage theft case”. Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm that owns Lane Bryant and Torrid, did not contribute to or engage the task forces that pushed for the payout, the groups said..
Overview of the dive:
Labor groups said the settlement was a victory for workers, whose struggles are often hidden in modern supply chains.
“Low-wage garment workers left destitute by the injustice inflicted by global supply chains is nothing new,” said David Welsh, Thailand country director of the Solidarity Center, who has also lobbied for the payment, in a press release. Press release. “What’s new is that they didn’t accept their fate and they won.”
Welsh added, “We also hope this will represent a model for the kind of national, governmental, international and brand engagement to resolve future cases where garment workers find themselves in an equally desperate situation.”
According to the group, the Thai government ordered the Brilliant Alliance factory to pay severance pay within 30 days after the factory closed in March 2021. The owner, Clover Group, told its employees that he didn’t have the money to pay and they would have to accept. wait a decade for a full refund.
The amount was the “biggest theft – and now the most back pay – we have ever seen in an individual garment factory“.,“said Workers Rights Coalition Executive Director Scott Nova in a statement.
Reuters reported Thai government records showing the total severance package was around $8.3 million and noted that it was unclear how much of the settlement was paid through Victoria’s funding. Secret.
In an emailed press release, a Victoria’s Secret spokesperson said, “[w]Even though the workers affected by the closure were not our employees and our goods were not produced in the factory at the time of the closure, we are committed to ensuring that the owners of the factory fulfill their obligations to their workers.
The spokesperson explained that the company had been “in active communication” with the owners of the factory for months to reach a resolution.
“We regret that they were ultimately unable to complete this deal on their own, so to ensure the workers receive their full severance packages, Victoria’s Secret has agreed to advance the severance package severance to factory owners,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company “will continue to hold us and our partners accountable for the high standards we have set for the fair treatment of workers.”
A spokesperson for Sycamore Partners did not immediately respond to request for comment.