Factory: Myanmar Royal Apollo Garment Factory
Key Buyers: Bestseller, Inditex, Kiabi
Last Updated: 2021
The apparel industry’s chronically low wages left most garment workers with no savings on the eve of the Covid-19 crisis. Since most governments in apparel exporting countries provide little or no unemployment benefits, the only thing standing between an out-of-work garment worker and immediate poverty for her family are the legally mandated severance benefits that most garment workers are due upon termination.
Research by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) reveals that many garment workers who were fired during the pandemic have been denied some or all of this essential compensation, in violation of the law and the labor rights obligations of the brands and retailers whose clothes they sewed.
Myanmar Royal Apollo Garment Factory is one of the 31 export garment factories identified in the WRC’s report, Fired, Then Robbed: Fashion brands’ complicity in wage theft during Covid-19, which still owed workers legally mandated terminal compensation as of April 2021.
In March 2020, Myanmar Royal Apollo Garment Factory dismissed 500 workers when it closed. As of April 2021, these workers were still waiting for $74,000 in legally owed compensation.
Myanmar Royal Apollo Garment Factory was a sewing facility located at Shwe Pyi Thar township, Yangon, Myanmar, owned by a Chinese national. Workers report they sewed clothing for Inditex and also for Bestseller and Kiabi, as a subcontractor of Guotai Guohua Garment (Myanmar) Co. Ltd., which is owned by Jiangsu Guotai Guohua Shiye, a Chinese company that invests in commodity contracts, tax liens, and venture capital companies. Documents on file with the WRC show that Royal Apollo is a subcontractor of Vent d’Est Garments Co. Ltd., another Bestseller supplier. Bestseller claimed in a January 2021 email to the WRC that it has no relation with Myanmar Royal Apollo.