Victoria’s Secret agrees to finance $8.3 mln settlement for laid-off Thai workers

Victoria’s Secret agrees to finance $8.3 mln settlement for laid-off Thai workers
A Victoria's Secret logo on the dressing gown of a Victoria's Secret angel ahead of the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Thai workers who were sacked last year from a factory supplying global lingerie brands including Victoria's Secret will receive $8.3 million, in what labour activists say is the biggest settlement of its kind in the global garment industry.

About 1,200 workers were laid off without severance pay and wages owed to them by Brilliant Alliance Thai Global Co Ltd (BAT) after it went bankrupt and shut down its factory in Samut Prakan province in March 2021.

The incident was one of “hundreds of cases of wage theft” that labour activists say took place in the garment industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The settlement, financed by Victoria’s Secret in a loan arrangement with BAT’s owner, could set a precedent for global brands to better protect the rights of workers in their supply chains, according to Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium, an international labour advocacy group.

“Global brands need to realise that they are not passive investors, but trend-setters in setting labour standards,” said David Welsh, the Thailand director for the Solidarity Center, a U.S.-based workers rights’ advocacy group.

More than a year after BAT and its Hong Kong-based owner Clover Group refused to pay the laid-off Thai workers, Victoria’s Secret & Co VSCO.Nsaid this week in an emailed statement. It will extend a loan to the owners of Clover to finance the settlement.

It was unclear how much of the settlement Victoria’s Secret would cover, saying in the statement that BAT’s owner were not “in a position to conclude this matter on their own” so the company agreed to advance the severance funds to factory owners,” without revealing the amount.

A Thai labour ministry document seen by Reuters showed the total payment to the workers including related costs was in a total of 285.2 million baht ($8.36 million).

Clover had initially said the workers should agree to wait 10 years to be paid in full.

Emily Lau, an executive of Clover and a board member of the bankrupt BAT said on Friday the payment will be made with “the personal resources of owners, Angie and Emily Lau” but did not mention the loan from Victoria’s Secret.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Kanupriya and Nick Zieminski)


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.