Spanish retailer ZARA is no stranger to controversy. The brand has allegedly produced clothes with alt-right symbols, sewed dead mice into dresses, and continued to rip-off brands and designers. Today, the high street favorite has come under fire again after shoppers reportedly found alarming hidden notes on the tags inside the clothing.
According to Business of Fashion, several factory workers in Istanbul, Turkey wrote notes pleading for help through handwritten notes that had been woven into various garments. Notes include discussions of unfair working hours, unsafe working conditions and poor pay. One tag reportedly states: "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn't get paid for it."
The majority of the workers were employed at Bravo Tekstil, a factory which, after it closed down last year, reportedly left its employees with months of unpaid wages. The factory was also responsible for the manufacturing of garments for Mango and Next. More recently, Bravo employees launched an online petition on change.org, demanding compensation after the company's owner went missing.
"We have all laboured for Zara/Inditex, Next, and Mango for years," reads the page. "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."
This isn't the first time affiliates of ZARA have tried to campaign for change. Last year, employees across eight ZARA stores in New York City successfully voted to unionize in lieu of the company's praxis regarding payment. Unfortunately, the employees at Bravo haven't been so lucky and many are still left without answers.
Zara's parent company, Inditex, stated in an interview that they are looking to work with trade unions in the near future and create a "hardship fund" for the workers affected, covering unpaid wages, unused vacation and severance pay.
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