Zara, the Spanish clothing retailer infamous for its bad labour practices and ripping off the work of other designers, has once again made its way into the news.
This time, though, reports have surfaced that unpaid factory workers in Zara Istanbul, Turkey are slipping cries for help in the form of handwritten notes into the pockets of in-store garments.
After shoppers began to discover unusual tags attached to or tucked into their garments, it was clear that an underground campaign from factory workers who made the pieces was brewing.
One of the tags reads, “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it,” and urges consumers to help back their cause and call on Zara to pay its suppliers fair wages.
Many individuals formerly employed by the now-defunct Bravo Tekstil factory, are demanding back wages and severance after working without payment for several months before the fashion giant abruptly shut down its business overnight in July 2016, leaving 155 people unpaid.
Following a favourable ruling from a labor court in Turkey and more than a year of negotiation Zara, Next, and Mango have not been able to reach a settlement to fully compensate the 140 workers who singed the petition.
“We have all laboured for Zara/Inditex, Next, and Mango for years. We made these brands’ products with our own hands, earning huge profits for them. We demand now that these brands give us the basic respect to compensate us for our labour. We demand no more than our basic rights! We call on the international community to support our struggle, sign and share to support our campaign!”
Upon hearing of this news, Zara’s parent company Inditex Fashion Group released a statement which says, “Inditex has met all of its contractual obligations to Bravo Textil and is currently working on a proposal with the local IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, Mango, and Next to establish a hardship fund for the workers affected by the fraudulent disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner.”
“This hardship fund would cover unpaid wages, notice indemnity, unused vacation, and severance payments of workers that were employed at the time of the sudden shutdown of their factory in July 2016. We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted.”
Well, let’s hope they’ll actually stick to their promises this time!