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Zara, Mango, Next Slammed for Failing to Pay Turkish Workers

Zara, Mango and Next are being called out by the Clean Clothes Campaign for failing to fairly compensate workers at a Turkish factory.

Workers at the Bravo Tekstil factory complex in Istanbul went to court, demanding the fast fashion brands pay their wages and severance after working without pay for three months following the sudden closure of the facility last year, and the court has ruled that workers are legally owed their pay.

The 140 workers are seeking a sum of 2.7 billion Turkish lira ($766,155) to compensate each worker for the three-month period. The brands, however, still have not been able to come to an agreement on what to pay the workers, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, and their initial offering only covers roughly one fourth of the amount the workers are seeking, which would either mean no worker would get their full pay or some would be paid and others wouldn’t.

Even though 75 percent of the factory’s overall production was for Zara, Clean Clothes Campaign said Zara still hasn’t agreed to the compensation, even though the amount requested by the workers would constitute less than 0.01% of its first quarter net sales. Mango and Next also reportedly refused to account for the workers.

In protest for their still unpaid due, the workers have launched an online campaign and are urging consumers to take part in their cause. To support the workers, Clean Clothes Campaign publicly requested that the apparel giants pay the workers and make up for lost compensation. Mango, Next and Zara have not provided additional comment about the issue.

“Brands are principal employers. They have proven time and again that they control every aspect of their orders to their suppliers,” said Bego Demir of Clean Clothes Campaign Turkey. “Therefore, it is clear that it is in their power to make sure that all workers who produce their apparel receive their monthly wages and are working in safe conditions, and morally they must do so.”

[Read more on how brands have responded to labor violations: H&M Sets Goals to Improve Working Conditions and Wages]

Workers and their affected families expressed how the lack of payment has shifted their financial standings, causing loved ones to miss out on things like college opportunities and maternity leave, according to Clean Clothes Campaign.