Factory: PT L&B
Key Buyers: Gap, Justice
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.
PT L&B 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 April 2020, PT L&B dismissed 100 workers. As of April 2021, these workers were still waiting for $79,000 in legally owed compensation.
PT L&B, located at Kp. Sundawenang Rt30/Rw12, Desa Sundawenang Kec., Parungkuda, Sukabumi Jawa Barat, Indonesia, is owned by Seoul-based Lee and Co., Ltd., which has over 5,000 employees across its production mills in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Guatemala. Lee and Co. lists, among its clients, Express, Kohl’s, Lands’ End, Macy’s, and Madewell. PT L&B workers report producing for Gap Inc. (Gap and Old Navy labels) and Justice (acquired by Bluestar Alliance from Ascena in November 2020). Gap told the WRC in a January 2021 letter that it had verified, based on document review, that 123 workers who resigned in April 2020 (108 of whom were at the end of their contracts) were paid in accordance with local law. Evidence demonstrates, however, that the workers had been employed illegally on multiple short-term contracts and therefore, per applicable law, are owed the same severance payments as if they had been properly classified as regular employees.