Bravo workers’ struggle continues. Left high and dry when in 2016 their factory went bankrupt, the 140 workers once again call out to the brands in order to be paid what’s rightfully theirs
On Sunday, in front of the Zara shop in Istanbul’s Nisantasi neighbourhood, Clean Clothes Campaign Turkey organised a press release together with the Bravo workers and their supporters. During the press release the workers carried a coffin covered with their own photographs. Alongside the banner which read “Give us our rights, let’s be even!” the workers’ representative Helin Uğur Arslan presented the press release. Following the statement, the workers wanted to give Zara’s shop manager a letter they had written. The manager declined, so the workers gave the letter to security staff, pointing out that they will continue the struggle until the end and hoping that their message gets through.
The press release went as follows:
We were workers of the Bravo factory. We worked between 1 to 6.5 years for the Bravo firm. We produced garments for the brands Zara, Next and Mango and every month our factory was monitored by these brands. Everything, from our wages to our working conditions, was determined by Zara, Next and Mango. One year before the factory went bankrupt, wages were continuously delayed; as for the last three months, wages weren’t paid at all. When we asked what was wrong, management kept saying that the firm was going through hard times, that we should be patient and that all problems would be fixed. One morning when we came to work we saw that the factory had been emptied and the doors were left wide open. Not having been paid three months of wages and without any severance pay, we were left high and dry just like that. We informed the brands we had been producing for, and we demanded our money. Zara made up 75% of all of our production, and according to the agreement it had signed with global union IndustriALL, Zara had acknowledged direct responsibility for workers’ unpaid wages. Despite this, Zara insists on not paying. Demanding the money that is owed to us, Clean Clothes Campaign Turkey has been negotiating with these brands on our behalf for one and a half year. At this point, the brands acknowledge their responsibility; however they say that they will pay only a part of the amount. We were all workers and we all worked under the same labour act. Therefore we wanted everybody to be paid, and we still do. Last September we, a total of 140 workers, started a petition campaign with the support of Clean Clothes Campaign Turkey. We also put labels on Zara products, saying that we made those products but hadn’t been paid. This way we asked for support from you, dear consumers. Our campaign reached millions of people, but Zara is still not convinced.
Our struggle still continues, and it will continue until we get our money. Now we have a worker committee with which we represent ourselves, and our voices are much stronger. Two weeks ago we sent an email to the brands and we demanded a meeting. They did not take the trouble to write an answer. Now, we will present the same letter right here, to Zara. Our struggle will continue to be much stronger with your support.
We thank you all,
The Bravo workers”