PVH Corp is the latest company to have paid due diligence it owed to Haitian factory workers after the sudden closure of a factory in the Caribbean country.
According to Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), at least 1,100 families in Haiti have been compensated directly after the intervention from the independent labour rights group. For most workers this US$1m severance meant six months worth of salary or even a complete year.
PVH Corp didn’t respond to Just Style’s request for comment at the time of press.
WRC explains: “The injustice suffered by these families in Haiti would never have been corrected if universities and the WRC hadn’t transformed expectations in the apparel industry which has convinced non-collegiate brands like PVH to ensure workers receive the money they have earned.
“This case also sets a new precedent: it is the first time a brand has directly compensated Haitian workers for unpaid pension benefits. Failure to pay pension and health benefits is a widespread problem in Haiti. PVH’s action sends a message that buyers cannot ignore this problem—and, indeed, may end up paying for it in the end.”
Based on news published in the Guardian, the Vald’or factory (owned by a US-based company) was based out of Port-au-Prince and shut all operations in January 2022.
Haiti has been at the brunt of socio-economic and political turmoil since 2021, when the country witnessed the assassination of its president Jovenel Moïse in July.
This disturbance saw several brands shut their operations suddenly in the country which left the workers stranded with no compensation or benefits paid in return. Haiti is a small country but an important part of the apparel supply chain, as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) quotes.
Last October, US apparel firm Hanesbrands paid out a total of US$330,000 to garment workers in a Haiti factory that were left jobless when the factory owner abruptly closed the plant.
However, recently, a new report published by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) has found that US preference programmes have helped boost the development of Haiti’s apparel sector; with employment, compliance and exports all benefiting.