A customer holding a branded shopping bag inside a Zara store.
Photo by Angel Navarrete—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Aric Jenkins
November 7, 2017

The Turkish workers who protest-tagged clothes in Zara stores are seeking a cut of less than 0.01% of the retailer’s parent company’s net sales, according to a garment industry alliance dedicated to improving workers’ rights.

The Clean Clothes Campaign in September found that 140 workers from Istanbul’s Bravo Tekstil factory asked for 2,739,281.30 Turkish lira, or approximately $704,947, a minuscule fraction of the sales done in just the first quarter of 2017 by Inditex, Zara’s parent company and the largest fashion retailer in the world based on sales. Inditex made about 5.6 billion Euros, or about $6.5 million, in the first three months of 2017.

It has been more than a year since the Bravo factory closed, according to Fast Company. Inditex told the outlet that it closed in July 2016 due to the “fraudulent disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner,” who took all the money Inditex and other fashion companies like Mango and Next had paid to go to the factory’s workers leaving them without payment for their time.

That lack of payment is what prompted the Bravo workers to take matters into their own hands. Shoppers perusing for items in Istanbul’s Zara stores last week were likely surprised to find tags inside their clothing with tags that said, “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it,” according to the Associated Press.

An Inditex spokesperson in a statement to Fortune said the company “has met all of its contractual obligations to Bravo Tekstil” and is working to establish a “hardship fund” for workers who did not get paid because of the factory owner’s disappearance.

“This hardship fund would cover unpaid wages, notice indemnity, unused vacation and severance payments of workers that were employed at the time of the sudden shutdown of their factory in July 2016,” the spokesperson added. But more than a year after the factory closed, Inditex has yet to transfer any money to the workers who made the Zara clothes, Fast Company reported.

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