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Thailand: Migrant workers paid below minimum wage by garment factories supplying global brands launch legal action

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.

Comments from brands linked to the factory can be found in the articles below. Disney, Starbucks, Tesco said they are working with local representatives and CSOs to support the workers to find a solution. A Starbucks spokeswoman said the company terminated its relationship with the factory in December, and was looking for a way to “remediate the situation with the involved parties”. Disney and Tesco said the factory was not authorised to make their products and they were seeking to help the workers.