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Haiti garment workers receive $1m pay-out from Calvin Klein’s owner

Chloe Burney
06 February 2023

Over 1,100 garment workers in Haiti have been compensated by PVH, the owners of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

PVH is compensating the workers with £830,000 ($1 million) after they were left destitute due to the closure of the Vald’or factory.

The fashion conglomerate agreed to pay the sum with the involvement of the Worker Rights Consortium lobby group. The pay-out covers missed severance pay and pension contributions. Some workers are receiving the equivalent of over six months' worth of wages, and some are receiving more than a year’s worth of pay.

Haiti’s garment industry has suffered due to the rising violence in the country, which has slowed shipments, as well as sliding orders. These issues eventually led to the closure of Vald’or's factory in January 2022.

Anderson Charles, one of the workers who received compensation, said: "It is very difficult to get a new job. I haven’t got one and many of the workers are still searching. I felt very angry and frustrated (when the factory closed). I had been working there more than four years and the company just let us go without any compensation."

PVH Corp. Tommy Hilfiger

A recent Tommy Hilfiger campaign

This move marks growing action by brands stepping in where suppliers have not supported workers. Last year, Victoria’s Secret paid out to sacked workers who had been making its bras in Thailand.

A spokesperson for PVH commented: “As social responsibility and ethical behaviour in the global fashion and apparel industry is inseparable from our values, PVH is committed to being part of the solution, even if we bear no direct responsibility."

"We believe it was the right thing to do to share in the commitment of supporting the affected workers, especially given the current context in Haiti. We are pleased that we were able to provide financial restitution for the affected workers in Val D’or Haiti and participate in a comprehensive resolution to this unfortunate situation."

Thulsi Narayanasamy, Director of Advocacy for WRC, added: "We’re glad to see brands increasingly recognising their obligations and paying workers like PVH has done here. We have a long way to go, but every time a brand steps up to ensure garment workers receive what they’re owed, it makes it harder for the next brand to refuse."

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