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May 20, 2015
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Brazil: Zara again faces fines for poor working conditions

May 20, 2015

The Spanish company Inditex’s flagship retailer has found itself in the crosshairs of Brazilian authorities, who have accused it of failing to improve conditions for local factory workers.

Photo : SOMO

The Brazilian Ministry of Labor has published a report detailing abuse suffered by 7,000 employees over the past three years. The state could fine the company for 7.3 million euros (25 million reais), while the organizations Reporter Brasil and Somo have referred to ”modern slavery". 

The accusation was refuted by a spokesperson for Inditex, who offered a contradictory interpretation of the report, citing as evidence efforts undertaken by the company in order to improve working conditions at subcontracted factories. Some 2,800 audits have been conducted since 2012 among Brazilian suppliers. 

The case is even more sensitive given the problems faced by the company in late 2011, when an official agency reported on a factory in Sao Paulo where fifty primarily undocumented Bolivian workers were discovered working and living in sweatshop-like conditions. Inditex subsequently signed a formal agreement with the government, which it has now been accused of flouting.

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