El Salvador: Garment workers owed $2.3 million severance pay after sudden closure of Global Brands Group major supplier; Global Brands Group did not respond
In November 2018, Hong Kong-based labour groups issued a joint letter to Global Brands Group requesting it take responsibility to ensure full payment of severance for 824 garment workers employed by Global Brands Group major supplier L.D El Salvador, which closed suddenly in March 2018. According to the letter, Global Brands Group - whose portfolio includes Disney, Mattel, Barbie, Fortnite and Star Wars - was one of L.D's largest buyers in the run up to its closure.
The letter states that the 824 affected garment workers are collectively owed USD 2.3 million (approx. USD 2,800 each) in outstanding wages, legally-mandated severance payments and other terminal benefits, which the factory owner has refused to pay. Instead, the owner has fled the country abandoning all responsibility to the workers.
Global Brands Group has offered to pay the workers a one-time “humanitarian” payment of USD 300,000, while expressly denying any further commitments. Labour groups say the payment represents "a portion of what the workers are owed for their labor and is by no means an act of “humanitarian” charity".
In March 2019, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre wrote to Global Brands Group inviting it to respond to the allegations in the joint letter. Global Brands Group did not respond.