WRC Factory Investigation

Sangwoo (Cambodia) Co. Ltd.

Factory: Sangwoo (Cambodia) Co. Ltd.

Key Buyers: Gap

Last Updated: 2021

Case Summary

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.

Sangwoo 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 July 2020, Sangwoo dismissed 2,800 workers when it closed. As of April 2021, these workers were still waiting for $5,145,600 in legally owed compensation.

Sangwoo (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., a sewing facility located at NR 4, Trapang Veng, Trapeang Kong Commune, Samraong Tong District, Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia, is owned by Sangwoo, headquartered in Bucheon, South Korea. Sangwoo operates four other factories in three countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) and lists C&A, Gap Inc., Inditex, Lands’ End, and Walmart as “selected clients”. Gap told the WRC in a January 2021 letter that it had verified that severance payments have been made to the workers, via review of payment records and other documents. The WRC found that the workers received only partial payment and did not receive the damages they were owed under Cambodian law.

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