Zara shop assistants demand higher wages

Zara shop assistants demand higher wages

MADRID Reuters -- Dozens of Zara shop assistants protested in Madrid on Thursday outside the global fashion giant's largest store in the world to demand higher pay, and some workers in its home town in northwest Spain went on strike on the eve of its Black Friday sales campaign.

According to unions that are seeking better wages for their members in the face of rising inflation, the one-off bonus of 1,000 euros $1,041 was agreed by Zara owner Inditex last week.

The proposal accepted by two of the largest union groups, UGT and Comisiones Obreras, but rejected by the protesters who are demanding at least double that, is that Inditex has gradually raised monthly wages by around 200 euros by the year 2024.

Anibal Maestro, the leader of the CGT union, called the rally in Madrid, saying that Inditex is increasing its prices and improving its profits, while employees' wages are lagging behind.

Protesters carried signs that We made you a millionaire, you give us precarious pay and I work for Inditex but don't make it to the end of the month. We want a real wage rise. Maestro said that the 1,000 euro bonus was not offered as candy.

Inditex has 44 stores in the city of A Coruna, where the first Zara store opened in 1975. Two of those, a Massimo Dutti store and a Zara store, were closed on Thursday, and some 1,000 shopworkers were preparing to go on a one-day strike on Black Friday the following day.

According to the unions, shop assistants' monthly wages are below 1,400 euros at Inditex stores in Madrid and A Coruna.

Carmina Naveiro, a union leader in A Coruna who has worked at Zara for more than two decades, said online orders had increased shop assistants' workloads, compared to around 2,000 euros for a warehouse worker.

She said if we don't get better wages, we will call for more protests in December and January.

Inditex employs 165,000 people in 177 countries. In its 6,477 shops, about 86% are employed.