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Zara owner Inditex workers protest after record profits

By AFP - Mar 25,2024 - Last updated at Mar 25,2024

A demonstrator holds a banner during a demonstration called by unions from Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer, to ask for a better distribution of the group's record profits, in front of a Bershka store in Madrid, on Friday (AFP photo)

MADRID — Workers at Inditex's Zara and other big name stores protested outside the company shops across Spain on Friday to demand better benefits after the world's biggest fashion retailer reported record profits and raised shareholder payouts.

Blowing whistles and waving union flags, around 100 people demonstrated outside the flagship Bershka store on Madrid's main avenue, the Gran Via, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

"It seems very unfair to us because Inditex has had a huge profit. So we want it to redistribute that," said Juan Becerra, a 44-year-old worker at an Oysho store in the Spanish capital.

Similar protests were held outside Inditex stores in seven other cities, including Barcelona, Seville and Valencia.

The protests were organised by Spain's two largest unions, UGT and CCOO, which want a bonus for Inditex workers with more than four years service and other benefits.

The unions say just over half of Inditex's 27,000 employees in Spain have signed a petition demanding that "the group's profits be returned in a fair and equitable manner to those who make them possible: all the group's workers".

Monica Donoro, a CCOO representative, said negotiations with Inditex managers had stalled.

"We are not making any progress. They are not listening to us," she said.

Inditex, which has seen a strong performance on Spain's stock market over the past year, posted net profits of 5.4 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in 2023, up 30 per cent from 4.1 billion euros, the previous record, in 2022.

The company, whose eight brands include Pull and Bear and upmarket label Massimo Dutti, said it would pay shareholders a dividend of 1.54 euros, a 28 per cent increase from 2022, and the highest in the group's history.

"We, the staff, have the impression that we are not taken into account, that our work is not recognised even though we contribute to generating the profits, which are so high, through our work," Beatriz Aliaga, a 44-year-old Zara employee, told AFP at the Madrid demonstration.

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