Former staff of swimwear and lingerie giant Triumph International have agreed to end their eight-month protest against their former employer at the Labour Ministry, Triumph labour union adviser Jitra Kotchadej says.
About 200 former workers of Triumph have been camped out at the ministry in protest against their former employer's lay-off scheme.
They claim Body Fashion Thailand (BFT), Triumph's manufacturing arm, paid them unfair severance pay and failed to abide by the principles of good labour relations by not consulting the labour union when laying off 1,959 workers last June.
BFT insists it has paid the necessary severance to the workers as required by law.
Ms Jitra said her group agreed to move out of the ministry's compound to honour the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Srirasm, the royal consort to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, on March 8, which is International Women's Day.
Ms Jitra said some of her fellow workers had agreed to continue working together by producing undergarments under their own brandname, Try Arm.
They will rent a building as their production premises and manage the group's business as a cooperative, said Ms Jitra, a former BFT labour union president.
The group's business is funded by money donated to the Triumph labour union by members. The group has received orders from both domestic and international organisations and traders.
Former union members who work with the group are paid 50 baht a day by the labour union, she said.
Now the protesting workers have agreed to leave the Labour Ministry, the ministry has promised to grant the group 250 sewing machines and help the group secure loans from financial institutions, officials said.
Former Triumph workers lost a court case to demand additional severance pay from their former employer in December last year.
Samut Prakan Labour Court on Dec 17 dismissed the case filed by 274 employees of Triumph International and BFT.
The court said the workers had received severance pay in accordance with the Labour Protection Act.
The plaintiffs wanted the company to pay additional severance money according to an agreement between Triumph and its labour union reached in 1999.
The agreement calls for Triumph International to pay severance packages above that required by the Labour Protection Act if the company decided to lay off workers due to operational restructuring.
Ms Jitra said her group would continue to demand additional severance pay by petitioning international organisations.