Zara is one of the biggest, most successful fast fashion retailers in the world. The brand’s runway-inspired pieces still possess the refinement and coolness of something you’d find from a high-end range, except you don’t have to shill out copious amounts of cash for it. Zara’s a godsend to fashionphiles everywhere — and the chain’s got the profits to prove it. Amancio Ortega, owner of parent company Inditex, is the third richest man in the world thanks to the retailer, sitting on a fortune of about $63 billion.
You would think that with such a successful business, Zara would be able to pay its salespeople — the ones who constantly stock the store and help customers — well enough for their work. According to a new petition, that isn’t the case.
Sharlene, a sales associate at a Zara in New York City, has launched a petition with the aim to #ChangeZara, in particular, reform its policies so that associates can have a better quality of life and more chances to move up in the company. Sharlene started working at Zara in 2012, but mentions that this past winter, things dramatically changed for her and the other shopgirls on the floor. Their hours were cut significantly — down to a maximum of 25 per week, which Sharlene said for her, turned into clocking only 16 hours each week. This is an experience several Zara employees working on the floor have, she says, adding that many girls have skipped meals in order to ease the financial burden. “We earn so little at Zara that many of us can’t even afford to buy the clothes that we sell,” she writes.
According to the petition, Zara workers in Spain are more protected than they are here in America. “Inditex signed an agreement with a global federation of unions, UNI, promising to respect workers’ rights in their stores and factories. Zara workers in Spain have a union that grants them rights and benefits that we don’t have — don’t we deserve the same respect here in the U.S.?” (more…)