Zara customers in Istanbul, Turkey were met with an unsettling surprise recently when they reached into the pockets of their clothes to find secret messages from the retailer’s factory workers claiming that they were unpaid for their labor, Associated Press reports.
The messages, which were written on tags buried deep in Zara’s clothes, allege that employees at Bravo Tekstil—a Turkey-based manufacturing company that produces clothes for Zara, as well as brands like Mango and Next—are due three months of pay and a severance allowance after the company unexpectedly shuttered in July 2016.
“I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it,” read the tags, which were reportedly hand-placed in clothes at Zara stores around Istanbul.
This isn’t the first time the public has learned of the Zara-Bravo controversy. After the company shut down, workers launched an online petition demanding that Zara, Next, and Mango pay the overdue fees that Bravo owes them. Having yet to see payment, the workers tried a new strategy, this time leaving secret messages for customers urging them to boycott the retailers.
In a statement to Refinery29, Inditex, the company that owns Zara, claimed that it is currently working on a solution with the workers.
“Inditex has met all of its contractual obligations to Bravo Textil [sic] and is currently working on a proposal with the local IndustriALL affiliate, Mango, and Next to establish a hardship fund for the workers affected by the fraudulent disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner,” the statement read.
“This hardship fund would cover unpaid wages, notice indemnity, unused vacation, and severance payments of workers that were employed at the time of the sudden shutdown of their factory in July 2016. We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted.”