Women put clothes into a bag from Spanish multinational retail clothing chain Zara, the flagship brand of the Inditex clothing company, in the Gran Via of Bilbao. | Vincent West


Workers at Zara owner Inditex' stores plan to protest in eight major Spanish cities on Friday to demand better benefits after the fashion giant reported record profits and raised shareholder payouts, unions said on Monday.

Inditex shares hit a record high after it reported positive early spring sales and a record annual profit last week, and said it would boost its dividend payout by 28%.

"We are happy with Inditex's results, but having seen them, they can't make excuses to the workers and need to discuss more benefits," said Alvaro Cajigal, leader of the UGT union.

Spain's two largest unions, UGT and CCOO have called on shop workers in Inditex's home country to gather outside Zara and Bershka stores in cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Seville at midday on Friday.

CCOO union leader Lucia Trenor said union representatives and workers will gather for an hour and will do so outside of their regular shifts, so shops will work as normal.

"There will be no shop closures during the demonstrations," she told Reuters.

The unions want the company behind the Zara brand to offer more hours for part-time employees and a minimum number of weekends off a year for all staff. UGT also wants seniority bonuses to start after four years of service, as the company is discussing offering a benefit based on experience, so they can reach the majority of workers.

Union and Inditex representatives will meet on Tuesday. The company declined to comment on the union's actions.

Last year, the company increased wages for its around 28,000 shop workers in Spain by around 20%. Globally, wages of 161,281 Inditex employees rose by 9% in 2023, reaching an annual average of 28,726 euros ($31,274), according to its annual report.

In Spain, the company has also agreed to an average 3.5% pay rise for its shop workers this year and to renew a one-off bonus of 1,000 euros.