News / Fashion

Unpaid Zara, Mango and Next manufacturers leave hidden protest messages in clothes

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Workers from a factory that produced clothes for high street stores Zara, Mango and Next have reportedly sewn protest messages into clothes sold in Istanbul stores, claiming they had not been paid for their labour. The labels state “I made this item, but I didn’t get paid for it” and show a link to a petition, asking people to put pressure on the brands to pay them their wages, saying: “We want our rights, not charity”.

The makers were employed by manufacturer Bravo Tekstil, which the petition claims did not pay them for three months before closing without notice. The brands outsourced production to the factory, and Inditex, the company that owns Zara and is the largest apparel retailer in the world, says it is establishing a “hardship fund” for the workers that have lost out. However the petition says that “supplier factories like ours are actually factories of global brands” and that Zara/Inditex signed an agreement that “acknowledged that they are responsible for the basic rights of the workers in the factories where they supplied their products”.

The Associated Press has reported that handwritten notes were also left inside clothes, asking shoppers to back the workers’ campaign for better labour standards, and to pressure Zara to pay them due wages.

At the time of writing over 20,000 people had signed the online petition.