Zara Customers Find Notes From Unpaid Employees Inside Clothing

Zara, a popular fashion retailer, has found itself in yet another sticky situation. However, this time it's not for anti-semitic shirts, alt-right skirts, or using thin models in a "Love your curves" campaign.

Rather, the Spanish retailer has been accused of not paying some of the employees who make the merchandise. The labor dispute came to light as in-store shoppers have been finding strategically placed notes in their clothing, which in-part read: "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn't get paid for it," the Associated Press reports. The notes—found inside clothing across Zara shops in Turkey—were placed by employees from an outsourced manufacturer for the fast fashion retail giant.

The workers in question are said to be from Bravo Texstil, Zara's third-party manufacturer with a factory based in Istanbul, according to the tags. Employees claim they are owed a few months of pay and severance allowance. About two months ago, a petition was started by textile workers at Bravo, who also makes clothing for Mango and Next.

New Zealand's first Zara store at Sylvia Park on October 6, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images

In a video accompanying the petition, a former Bravo employee states in July 2016 the company's boss disappeared and left 155 people without jobs and their previously earned wages. Of those employees, 140 signed the petition, demanding their rights.

"We have all laboured for Zara/Inditex, Next, and Mango for years. We made these brands' products with our own hands, earning huge profits for them," the petitioners wrote. "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!"

More than a year later, a solution has yet to be determined. Upon being told of the recent notes in clothes, Inditex—the owner of Zara and seven other brands—told Refinery29 that it's currently working on a hardship fund to assist the employees impacted by 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. We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted," Inditex wrote in a statement to Refinery29.