Zara, Inditex-owned brands’ workers stage Black Friday strike in fashion group’s hometown

Workers of different shops of Inditex protesting in A Coruna, Spain, on Nov 25, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID - About 1,000 shop assistants who work at Zara and other fashion brands owned by Inditex went on strike on Friday in the company’s home town in northern Spain to demand better salaries, two union leaders said.

The shop workers - most of whom are women - gathered early in the morning outside the 44 Inditex stores in A Coruña, where the fashion giant has its headquarters on the city’s outskirts.

“About 95 per cent of Inditex shop assistants in A Coruña are protesting on the streets today,” said Carmiña Naveiro, a Zara retail assistant and leader at regional union CIG, which had called the strike.

However, managers and non-striking employees kept most stores open to deal with the rush for Black Friday discounts and special sales, the union leaders said.

Two shops - one Zara and one Massimo Dutti - had to temporarily close on Thursday as the two-day strike kicked off.

Dozens of shop workers also protested outside Zara’s flagship store in Madrid on Thursday.

They said Inditex was putting off crucial wage increases amid galloping inflation.

CIG is pushing for a bigger pay rise after rejecting the company’s latest offer to give shop assistants a one-off bonus of 1,000 euros (S$1,430) in 2023 and a hike of 200 euros in their monthly salaries by 2024.

The proposal was accepted last week by two of Spain’s largest unions, UGT and CCOO, while other labour groups in A Coruña and Madrid are seeking at least twice the increases offered.

They want monthly wages to reach around 2,000 euros, similar to earnings for Inditex’s warehouse workers, arguing that online orders have increased shop assistants’ workloads.

Inditex shop assistants in Madrid and A Coruña currently earn less than 1,400 euros a month, according to the unions.

The retailer employs 165,000 people in 177 countries. About 86 per centof them work in its 6,477 shops. REUTERS

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