Thailand: Starbucks, Disney, Tesco & NBC commit to compensate illegally underpaid migrant garment workers in their supply chains
In September 2019, an investigation found migrant workers being paid below the legal minimum at garment factories producing for global brands in Mae Sot, Thailand. The Thomson Reuters Foundation interviewed 26 workers - all migrants from neighbouring Myanmar - employed at four factories in Thailand’s western region of Mae Sot who said they were paid less than the daily minimum wage of 310 Thai baht ($10.15).
Following the expose, officials raided two garment factories and ordered the owners to pay wages owed to their workers. Owners of one of the factories were ordered to pay 18 million baht in compensation to 600-odd workers. The company that owns the factory - Cortina Eiger - said it had repaid the workers, which was confirmed by labour officials in Mae Sot.
The owner of the other factory, Kanlayanee Ruengrit, has not yet paid 3.48 million baht to 26 workers who lost their jobs when she closed her business following the raid. A year later - in September 2020 - the workers have filed a legal case with a local labour court to demand compensation from the factory.
In November 2020, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Tesco, Starbucks, Disney and NBC Universal to respond. Their responses are included below.
Tesco paid 736,000 baht ($24,274) to the workers and gave another 1.1 million baht ($36,279) to the MAP foundation to support migrant workers in Mae Sot. Starbucks' partner in Thailand has contributed 600,000 baht ($19,821.61) to support the workers who were underpaid by the Kalayanee factory in Mae Sot, while Disney has committed to do the same. In February 2021, NBCUniversal agreed to pay the outstanding amount of $20,000 owed to workers. According to MAP Foundation, the payment marked the first time that underpaid workers in Mae Sot had received the full amount owed to them in a wage dispute.