Victoria’s Secret Agrees To Pay Thai Factory’s Sacked Workers $8.3M

Laid-off workers at a factory that produced lingerie for Victoria’s Secret will receive US$8.3 million, equivalent to 282 million baht, in compensation.

Brilliant Alliance Thai Global, located in Samut Prakan’s Bang Sao Thong district, laid off 1,250 employees in March last year without giving them the severance pay required by Thai law.

The factory, which made lingerie for the prestigious and world-famous brand Victoria’s Secret, announced that it would close in 2021 because it had gone bankrupt. But the government ordered Brilliant Alliance Thai Global owner, Hong Kong-based Clover Group, to pay the workers 282 million baht within 30 days.

Clover Group first refused to pay employees on time, arguing that it had no money and workers had to wait up to 10 years to receive full pay.

In response, the Triumph International Union sought support from the Solidarity Center to launch a campaign demanding severance to pay from the manufacturer.

The Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) and Solidarity Center lobbied Victoria’s Secret and Sycamore, the parent company of Torrid and Lane Bryant, to ensure they awarded workers the legally-mandated compensation.

WRC’s executive director Scott Nova described the issue, which took place amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as “the largest theft — and now the most back pay — we’ve ever seen at an individual garment factory.”

Victoria’s Secret agreed to finance the sum in a loan agreement with Clover Group saying the bankrupt factory owner was “not in a position to conclude this matter on his own.” However, no details were revealed on how much of the deal the brand would cover.

On Friday, Clover’s executive and Brilliant Alliance Thai Global’s board member Emily Lau said the payment would be made from the owners’ personal resources but did not mention the loan settlement with Victoria’s Secret.

According to WRC’s chief executive Scott Nova, Victoria’s Secret should be proud, noting that the brand’s actions could set a precedent for other companies worldwide to ensure better worker rights protections.

Likewise, Thailand Solidarity Center’s director David Welsh said the 282 million compensation agreement was a “huge victory for the workers and a testament to the courage of their union and the strength of the international solidarity campaign that supported them.”