Brussels (Brussels Morning) Employees of the Zara fashion chain owner Inditex claim they are being forced out of work as the chain prepares to close up to 1,200 stores worldwide, breaching an agreement the company reached with Spanish unions to protect jobs in Spain, Reuters reports.
Inditex reportedly signed a deal with two Spanish unions to provide all staff affected by store closures with new jobs matching their old contracts within 25 kilometres of their previous employment location. According to unions and the affected staff, the deal is not going according to plan.
Outside of province
An analysis compiled by the UGT union shows that up to 40% of new positions offered are located outside of the province where workers were previously employed. In some instances, new postings are located on the other side of the country. Approximately one in four workers offered new positions in Spain have had to decline the offer and quit.
Inditex started closing its smaller retail stores in Spain and the rest of Europe, while planning to expand its flagship stores. Altogether 700 stores will be closed this year in Europe, with another 100 in the Americas and a further 400 in other parts of the world.
Adhering in spirit
The company rejects the union claims, insisting that workers have been offered multiple vacancies for every closed position, and that it continues to adhere to the agreement in “all its principles, wording and spirit, which is to prioritise maintenance of jobs”.
The company also points out that 75% of all workers accepted new vacancies offered. The fashion retail business was hit hard in 2020 because of multiple lockdowns. Today, the number of jobs in the sector in Europe remains well below pre-pandemic levels.