Zara store workers protest outside Spanish stores after record profits


By

Reuters API

Published


March 22, 2024

Workers at Zara, Bershka and other clothing stores owned by fashion giant Inditex protested outside its stores across Spain on Friday to demand better conditions after the group reported record profits and increased payouts to shareholders.

Outside Bershka's flagship store on Madrid's iconic Gran Vía, protesters, mainly women, shouted: “That profit is our sacrifice,” among other slogans. Other protests took place in seven cities, including Barcelona and Seville.

“Inditex is the company with the highest profits (in the sector) and if you want the workers to be well, those profits must be distributed,” said Carolina Albarrán, 50, who has worked at Zara for 33 years.

Inditex shares hit a record high after it reported an annual profit of 5.4 billion euros last week and said it would increase its dividend payout by 28%.

Zara and its sister brands such as Stradivarius and Massimo Dutti employ 28,000 workers in Spain, the company's home market, which accounted for 14.8% of its 36 billion euros ($38.94 billion) in sales in the year to January. of 2024.

Spain's two main unions, UGT and CCOO, supported the protests in the run-up to the Easter holidays. Stores remained open as usual while workers gathered outside their normal shift hours.
Inditex declined to comment, but a union leader showed a letter from the company expressing interest in discussing the demands of all store workers in April.

The unions want the retailer to offer more hours to part-time employees and a minimum number of weekends off per year for all staff, an extra bonus for workers with more than four years of service and other benefits.

Last year, Inditex increased the salaries of store workers in Spain by around 20% and agreed to renew a one-time bonus of 1,000 euros this year. Globally, the salaries of 161,281 Inditex employees increased by 9% in 2023, reaching an average of 28,726 euros per year, according to its annual report.

© Thomson Reuters 2024 All rights reserved.

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