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24 Feb 2021

Nanchanok Wongsamuth, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Thailand: Garment workers receive full compensation for unpaid wages after NBCUniversal joins other brands & commits to pay

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"Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose", 24 February 2021

Garment workers in Thailand who were illegally underpaid while making products for major brands have received all the wages owed to them after theme park operator and film producer Universal Studios agreed to pay the outstanding amount.

Universal Studios, owned by media giant Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal, agreed to give $20,000 to a group of Myanmar workers on Wednesday - following three other global brands in making payments to settle the 3.5 million baht ($116,550) owed in unpaid wages.

... A group of 26 workers at one of the factories raided in 2019 by officials sued the owner - Kanlayanee Ruengrit - in August last year for failing to pay the 3.5 million baht owed to them... The workers later received a payment of about 2.88 million baht from Kanlayanee and three brands that said Kanlayanee's factory had been subcontracted by their suppliers or partners without permission - Disney, Starbucks and Tesco...

"Since the former licensee has failed to respond to multiple requests to pay the affected Thai factory workers, we are making a goodwill donation to MAP Foundation ... to distribute funds directly to the workers," the NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

Suchart Trakoonhutip, a coordinator at MAP Foundation, said the payment marked the first time that underpaid workers in Mae Sot had received the full amount owed to them in a wage dispute.

The Mae Sot case sets an example for other brands to follow in terms of taking responsibility, but workers should not have to rely on the goodwill of companies in order to receive money they have earned, said Ilona Kelly, a coordinator at pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign...