// Tesco faces lawsuit in the UK from 130 former workers at a Thai clothing factory
// VK Garment Factory (VKG) factory in Mae Sot currently faces criminal charges for fraud, using workers’ bank cards illegally, withholding their immigration documents and forcing them to work overtime
Tesco is facing a lawsuit in the UK from 130 former workers at a Thai clothing factory for negligence and unfair treatment.
A seven-year-old girl, who was raped in the factory compound while her mother worked late making F&F clothes, is also a claimant, The Guardian reported.
VK Garment Factory (VKG) factory in Mae Sot currently faces criminal charges for fraud, using workers’ bank cards illegally, withholding their immigration documents and forcing them to work overtime.
The workers made F&F jeans for the Thai branch of Tesco’s business between 2017 and 2020.
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The factory was revealed in December to be forcing Burmese workers to work 99-hour weeks for illegally low pay in terrible conditions.
Tesco responded by saying it was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the factory and said it would have ended its relationship with the supplier “immediately” if it had known of any issues.
Oliver Holland, a partner at Leigh Day representing the workers in the UK lawsuit, welcomed the new Thai police investigation.
Workers said the factory paid in cash but opened bank accounts for them to create a false trail that made it appear as though they were being paid the minimum wage.
In August 2020, 136 Burmese workers were dismissed from the factory, which they said happened after they demanded the minimum wage.
“We understand the Thai labour court has awarded compensation to those involved, and we would continue to urge the supplier to reimburse employees for any wages they are owed,” Tesco said.
Retail Gazette has contacted Tesco for comment.