Workers of Zara Stage Protests Outside Spanish Stores Following Record Profits

Workers from Zara, Bershka, and other clothing stores under the umbrella of fashion behemoth Inditex took to the streets in Spain on Friday to voice their grievances and advocate for improved working conditions in light of the company’s record profits and increased shareholder payouts.

“Inditex is the company with the highest profits (in the sector) and if you want the workers to be well off, those profits have to be shared,” emphasized Carolina Albarran, a 50-year-old veteran employee of Zara with 33 years of service.

Demonstrators, predominantly women, congregated outside the flagship Bershka store on Madrid’s renowned Gran Via boulevard, chanting slogans like, “That much profit is our sacrifice,” echoing sentiments shared in simultaneous protests held across seven cities, including Barcelona and Seville.

Workers of Zara Stage Protests Outside Spanish Stores Following Record Profits
Demands include increased hours, guaranteed weekends off, and bonuses, prompting dialogue with Inditex management.

Inditex shares soared to unprecedented levels following the announcement of a 5.4 billion euro annual profit last week, coupled with a 28% increase in dividend payouts.

Zara and its affiliated brands, such as Stradivarius and Massimo Dutti, collectively employ 28,000 shop workers in Spain, the company’s domestic market, contributing to 14.8% of its 36 billion euros ($38.94 billion) worth of sales in the fiscal year ending January 2024.

Spain’s two main trade unions, UGT and CCOO, lent their support to the protests ahead of the Easter holidays. Despite the demonstrations, the shops operated normally while workers assembled outside during their off-duty hours.

Workers of Zara Stage Protests Outside Spanish Stores Following Record Profits
Inditex raised wages by 20% last year and offers a one-time bonus, with global salaries seeing a 9% increase.

Inditex opted not to provide a comment on the matter. However, a union representative displayed a letter from the company expressing a willingness to engage in discussions regarding the demands of all shop workers in April.

The unions are advocating for several improvements, including increased hours for part-time employees, a guaranteed minimum number of weekends off annually for all staff, additional bonuses for workers with over four years of tenure, and other benefits.

In the previous year, Inditex implemented a roughly 20% wage increase for shop workers in Spain.

Additionally, it has committed to extending a one-time bonus of 1,000 euros this year. Globally, salaries for 161,281 Inditex employees witnessed a 9% uptick in 2023, averaging 28,726 euros per year, as outlined in its annual report.

(Conversion rate: $1 = 0.9245 euros)

Jackson Kelley
Jackson Kelley
Jackson is a political activist and market expert. He covers the impact of politics on the market and global economy.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x