Unpaid workers slip secret messages into Zara clothes

Workers are seeking help from retail customers through hand-written cries for help.

High street shoppers in Turkey received surprise 'gifts' in garments purchased from fashion retailer Zara – messages from labourers claiming that the company has not paid them for making those very garments. 

The Associated Press reports that the workers have gone into Zara stores in Istanbul to leave tags in the pockets of the retailer’s merchandise. These tags read, “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”

The workers were not employed by Zara directly, and rather by third-party manufacturer Bravo Tekstil. The manufacturer reportedly closed down overnight, leaving workers unpaid and in the lurch.

Zara has been previously accused of using slave and child labour, including teenage Syrian refugees.

Just last month, Zara’s parent company Inditex pledged to improve “labour conditions at all levels of the garment sector value chain” – working with the International Labour Organisation to specifically target working conditions in China and Turkey.

“Inditex has met all of its contractual obligations to Bravo Textil [sic] and is currently working… to establish a hardship fund for the workers affected by the fraudulent disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner,” said an Inditex spokesman, speaking to Refinery29.

“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.”

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