As reported by CNBC and AP, Zara stores in Istanbul have been unwittingly selling clothing with tags on them that read: “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”
According to the AP, “Workers from an outsourced manufacturer for Zara and other retailers have been going into Zara shops and leaving the tags inside clothes” in an attempt to recover three months of back pay and a severance allowance they claim they’re owed.
That “outsourced manufacturer,” Bravo Tekstil, also makes clothing for Mango and Next (which is a brand, apparently), and “abruptly shut down roughly a year ago, when its owner disappeared along with its money,” according to CNBC. And while Zara paid the factory its due, the workers didn’t receive any of that compensation when the aforementioned owner moonwalked into the void.
To Zara’s (and parent company, Inditex’s) credit, the company did set up a “hardship fund” to “raise money for the workers affected by the fraudulent disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner,” and there’s no evidence that that’s not happening.
Not to Zara’s credit, however, is that the company turned a $3.36 billion profit in 2016, and could just as easily compensate the employees out of pocket.
But as far as protests go, this one is both creative and (apparently) effective. “We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted,” Inditex said in a statement.