We are textile workers in Turkey who have been working for years to make profit for brands such as Inditex (Zara), Next, and Mango. We produced their products under the brands’ close surveillance and saw the power they wield to ensure their working standards are followed by their supplier factories. By July of 2016, our boss refused to pay a huge portion of the wages we had earned making each brands’ clothing. Creditors came to our factory and seized all machines and valuable assets. Meanwhile, our boss disappeared, taking our wages with him. We have yet to receive our wages or any form of severance payment.
In today’s global production chains, supplier companies like our former employer produce for multinational brands. Global brands gain most of the profits from this production and they have been proven over time to be the real bosses in the industry, dictating the conditions on the shop floor. As the public grew aware of this power dynamics, brands were forced to accept that they are responsible for ensuring that their products are produced fairly. Zara/Inditex, for example, has signed a Global Framework Agreement with IndustriAll Global Union and accepted responsibility for the basic rights of the workers in its supplier factories.
Since August 2016, our union representative, DiSK Tekstil, with the support of Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriAll Global Union, has been negotiating with those brands on our behalf. For 12 months, we waited for the conclusion of these negotiations with patience and hope. To prevent any disruptions to the negotiations, we endured them in silence. However, after an entire year the brands declared that they would only pay just over a quarter of our claim. In other words, the brands accepted their liability, but they thought we deserve no more than their scraps.
We have all laboured for Zara/Inditex, Next, and Mango for years. We made these brands’ products with our own hands, making them huge profits. We demand now that these brands give us the basic respect to compensate us for our labour. We demand no more than our basic rights! We call on the international community to support our struggle, sign and share to support our campaign!
Signed, 140 Bravo Factory Textile Workers