Workers working at Turkish branches of Inditex group, which is one of the largest ready-to-wear retailing companies, began to unionize under the roof of the Turkish Union of Commerce, Cooperative, Education, Office and Fine Arts Workers (Tez-Koop-İş).
Inditex operates over 7,200 stores in 93 markets worldwide. The company's flagship store is Zara, but it also owns the chains Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Uterqüe.
The visits paid by the union representatives to seven brands of INDITEX Group in Turkey’s Istanbul on March 8 International Working Women’s Day were welcomed by the workers.
The workers employed in the INDITEX Group’s stores are mostly part-time student workers. According to the workers, wages are higher compared to other workplaces in the same industry, but this situation is used as a means of oppression by the company legitimizing exploitation.
Stating that those who do not accept the existing working conditions are forced to resign, workers note that a number of workers were dismissed for fictitious reasons.
Moreover, workers say that the administration of INDITEX Group warns managers not to give references about these former employees when applying to other jobs.
Workers of INDITEX Group also demand mobbing practices to be stopped at workplaces, social allowances to be increased, and improvement in health, safety, and other working conditions.
The workers of Zara reported in 2017 that the managers started to give advice that was shared via e-mails, in WhatsApp groups, and hanged in changing rooms with the signature of the occupational physician. Stating that the employees may be physically and mentally exhausted in discount seasons, the employers advised the workers to "embrace the workload in the discount season inside their inner-world, with their mind and soul" and to take vitamins to stay healthy.
In 2017, textile workers producing for Zara were unable to receive their salaries for 3 months. The workers put new labels on the clothes they produced in protest against the fourth richest person in the world and Zara’s owner Amancio Ortega. Workers had tagged the products, writing "I made this product that you will buy, but I did not get my money. Please tell Zara, it has to pay our salaries" on the labels.