Fashion retailing giant Zara is facing criticism after clothing tags were found containing secret messages from disgruntled factory workers.
Last week, the Associated Press (AP) reported that shoppers at Zara in Istanbul had found unusual tags in clothing purchased from the store.
According to the AP workers from Bravo, an outsourced manufacturer for Zara, had left tags in the clothing including one which reads “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”
The tags also claim that Bravo has closed down and owes the workers three months’ pay and compensation for severance.
Zara is owned by Inditex, the largest fashion retailer in the world and owner of other brands such as Mango and Next.
Last year, Inditex raked in over $23 billion in revenue and almost $6 billion in profit, so it isn’t like they are hurting for cash.
Earlier this year, 140 workers created a Change.org petition asking Zara, Next and Mango to pay them for their time. As of the time of writing, the petition has received 23,638 signatures.
“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,” the petition says.
“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!”
This is not the first time Inditex has been accused of allegedly mistreating workers.
In 2015, Inditex faced fines of up to £5.29m from the Brazilian government for failing to deal with child labour and sweatshop conditions in its supply chain.
Inditex told Refinery 29 that it is working on a “hardship fund” for all the workers affected by the Bravo factory’s closure.
“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,” an Inditex spokesperson said.