Inditex, pay your workers Living Wages in Romanian factories!
Adressed to the Board of Directors of INDITEX (Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Pull&Bear)
Marta Ortega Pérez, Óscar García Maceiras, Amancio Ortega Gaona, Flora Pérez Marcote, José Arnau Sierra, José Luis Durán Schulz, Rodrigo Echenique Gordillo, Denise Patricia Kingsmill, Anne Lange, Pilar López Álvarez, Emilio Saracho Rodríguez de Torres
We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to ensure that the substantial profits you make in Romania are reflected in the wages paid to workers in the factories that produce for your brands.
In Romania, the minimum wage is inhumanely low (372 EUR), while the cost of living is nearly double (700 EUR). This condemns the workers in the factories to a lifetime of poverty. Furthermore, your company’s partners are among those speaking out against raising the minimum wage.
Why is it important?
INDITEX (owner of the Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, and Pull&Bear brands) is one of Romania’s most powerful and profitable corporations. Its skyrocketing profits of 75 million euros in 2022 are earned at the expense of pitiful wages paid to manufacturing workers.
The Romanian government refuses to link the minimum wage to the amount of the minimal consumption basket for a living wage. At the same time, companies with significant power and influence also have a strong interest in keeping the minimum wage as low as possible.
Major brands must ensure that workers inside their area of influence are adequately compensated. This means that factories should give workers wages that are in line with the cost of living, rather than just the minimum wage.
Regardless of the government’s decision, if there is a willingness, INDITEX can always get involved in raising the wages of the 150,000 workers in the fashion sector who live in poverty. We want the people who create our garments to no longer be exploited by paying them the lowest salaries possible in order to maximize profits.
Inditex reply on the petition:
Thanks for reaching us and for sharing your concerns.
At Inditex, we are firmly committed to working towards Living Wages and we are making progress in this Priority Impact Area as part of our Workers at the Centre 2019-2022 strategy, with the aim of “facilitating that workers in the Inditex supply chain earn a living wage”.
Our strategy and, therefore, our commitment to living wages is based on the principle that living wages and, in general, decent working conditions are the result of collective bargaining and agreements between employers and/or their representatives and workers and/or their freely chosen representatives. We strongly believe that the most sustainable way to achieve living wages is through collective bargaining, especially at the industrial/sector level.
This mechanism takes a holistic approach, leaves no one behind and covers all workers in the sector/industry. To reinforce this mechanism, together with our Worker Participation Priority Impact Area, we have been implementing a number of measures in our supply chain to strengthen the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, which are fundamental labour rights. This approach is further strengthened through our Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL Global Union, which is one of the most effective instruments for implementing our living wage strategy.
We also hold a very strong collaboration with ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), to whom we are joining forces to facilitate living wages in the textile industry. ACT sets out certain factors that are necessary to facilitate collective bargaining at industry level:
/A commitment between employers and trade unions to bargain in good faith.
/An enabling regulatory framework established by the government.
/Full respect of freedom of association.
/Mutual respect and recognition of the legitimate interests of each party.
/The will to conclude and implement an agreement plus the commitment to no disputes over the content of the agreement once signed.
This initiative is the first global commitment on living wages in the sector that provides a framework through which all relevant players, including brands and retailers, trade unions, manufacturers and governments can exercise their responsibility and role in achieving living wages. Through ACT, we work with the main stakeholders in an ecosystem that fosters negotiation between national representatives of manufacturers and trade unions, to secure collective bargaining agreements at industry level.
For further information, we encourage you to check our 2022 Statement on Non Financial Information, as well as our 2022 Workers at the Centre at https://www.inditex.com/itxcomweb/en/sustainability#reporting
We also remain at your disposal to explain our job and projects towards living wages. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Declic answer to Inditex:
To the Board of Directors of Inditex:
Dear Marta Ortega Pérez, Óscar García Maceiras, Amancio Ortega Gaona, Flora Pérez Marcote, José Arnau Sierra, José Luis Durán Schulz, Rodrigo Echenique Gordillo, Denise Patricia Kingsmill, Anne Lange, Pilar López Álvarez, Emilio Saracho Rodríguez de Torres
We are writing to express our disappointment and deep concern regarding the approach taken by Inditex in resolving the issue of decent wages for workers in the Romanian factories, which produce clothing and goods for the company’s renowned brands.
As managers of a very prominent textile company, we believe it is essential for you to address this matter promptly and transparently.
While Inditex emphasizes its commitment to employee well-being, the reality on the ground contradicts these claims. Despite labeling your products as “made in Romania” and promoting ethical production in an EU country, the wages earned by workers fall significantly below decent standards, and the company’s management appears indifferent to this pressing issue.
Recently, we presented a petition to Inditex, urging fair salaries for workers in the Romanian factories. Regrettably, the response we received suggests that Inditex refuses to acknowledge its responsibility in ensuring a decent standard of living for the workers in its supply chain.
In the response, Inditex stated its “firm commitment to working towards decent wages” through collective bargaining, particularly at the industrial/sectoral level. However, this approach places the burden on the workers, expecting them to negotiate for fair salaries. This expectation is unrealistic given the power dynamics and control within the factories.
In reality, less than 5% of workers in Romania’s textile industry are unionized and worker representatives are appointed by factory management rather than elected. Consequently, genuine collective bargaining does not exist. As a company with significant power and influence, Inditex has the ability to rectify this situation but has thus far failed to embrace this responsibility.
To provide you with an accurate understanding of the severity of the issue, workers in our Romanian factories earn a net income of only 376 euros per month, significantly below the minimum acceptable living wage of 700 euros.
Inditex, as a global leader, bears the responsibility of ensuring that those who contribute to its substantial revenues can live with dignity. Prioritizing exorbitant profits at the expense of disproportionately low wages contradicts the company’s professed commitment to social responsibility.
As the Board of Directors, you have an extraordinary opportunity to effect meaningful change and demonstrate genuine concern for the welfare of the workers in the Romanian factories. We urgently ask you to take tangible steps towards ensuring that all employees in your supply chain receive a living wage.
As representatives of Declic and concerned individuals advocating for workers’ rights, we respectfully request that you carefully consider our demands and proactively engage in resolving this issue.
Inditex must uphold ethical standards and illustrate that significant profits can coexist with fair working conditions and wages. We strongly encourage you to initiate contact with us to address these concerns promptly.
Furthermore, we are aware of the upcoming shareholders’ meeting on July 11th, which presents an excellent opportunity to address existing wage disparities.
We urge you to act responsibly and seize this opportunity to effect positive change.
Our society depends on the invaluable contributions of these workers, who deserve to be compensated fairly and treated with dignity. By taking decisive action, you can not only make a significant difference in the lives of these individuals but also enhance Inditex’s reputation as a company that genuinely cares about the well-being of its employees.
Thank you for your attention to this pressing matter.
Pentru varianta în limba română, apasă aici.