To the good guys

amancio_ortegaSpain seems divided recently because of the different opinions regarding the donations of oncological equipment valued at euros 320 million by the Amancio Ortega Foundation. Some people glorify the leading figure of the founder of Zara to the altars of holiness, or simply believe that being grateful is being a good guy.  But there are also those who criticize the derisory nature of the donation (compared to his fortune), the tax avoidance of Ortega’s business industry or the scandals of child slavery and labor exploitation found in the INDITEX production chain.

Some of the grateful ones are making the most of these  criticism to go against the political party Podemos, as if they were the standard bearer on this issue.

The truth is that members of the Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health have been the first ones to speak out against these donations [1]. Besides, there are many associations all around the world which are denouncing the savage system of production of the Galician empire. We, SAIn political party, have been raising our voices for more than 10 years, to highlight that  the offshoring of INDITEX’ holing has generated unemployment here and slavery at the impoverished countries. In addition, we firmly believe that the slavery scandals and the uncovering of the tax avoidance mechanism of this corporation are directly related to the image washing campaign intended with these donations. [2]

There are those who claim that  INDITEX’s deeds may not be moral, but they are all legal and, above all, Amancio Ortega has no need to make these donations. However, in the last 5 years, there have been facts over the table that should made us reflect on the legality of INDITEX’s actions.

INDITEX has created several companies in Switzerland from which it buys its own production cheaply from countries like Bangladesh, Morocco or Turkey, in order to sell it more expensively to Spain. This makes that INDITEX companies based in Spain, where 30% is taxed, barely declare any profit. And this shell companies, located in tax havens, artificially generate stratospheric benefits … in some cases with hardly any employees !!. [3] There are already MEPs working for a new European law to stop this large-scale theft.

Neither is it legal to use slaves in the production chain. And the Sao Paulo (Brazil) prosecutor’s office has officially determined that Zara has consciously used slaves at the country. The payment of a compensation of $ 1.5 million is for «the effective realisation of work under conditions analogous to slavery» [4]. This was so, despite the maneuver of changing the headlines of the Spanish media which tried to turn the payment of a sentence into an act of fight against the child slavery. Just as if we now turn Sito Miñanco into a leader of the struggle against drugs because we have expropriated one of his houses to use it as a therapy center.

Nor is it legal to use Syrian refugees in clandestine workshops in Turkey, as the British channel BBC has recently proved [5]. Where the Spanish society saw a reason to demand a greater reception of the refugees who were escaping from war, the Zara’s managers saw an opportunity to reduce costs.

The great growth of the INDITEX empire has been forged in the first decade of this millennium thanks to the relocation of its production chain. A maneuver that made many other companies follow its footsteps. These relocations have contributed, to a large extent, to the fact that Spain has registered historical records of unemployment rate. Just if the profits of large Spanish companies had not been taxed in tax havens  (INDITEX alone has saved more than € 585 million according to a recent report of the European Parliament), no cuts would have been necessary in Spain.

When this company from Arteixo was already a big international business, it decided to make the big leap towards a savagely capitalist company (slavery, tax avoidance, financial speculation …). This has brought more unemployment, more cuts and a few oncological equipments. Being a good guy is being supportive with the victims who are being left on the ways of companies like INDITEX.

[1] The ADSPC regarding the donation of the Amancio Ortega Foundation to the Government of the Canary Islands

[2] Totally insignificant

[3] Tax shopping

[4] Inditex pays 1.36 million in Brazil after investigation for slave labor

[5] Syrian refugees being exploited in factories in Turkey producing for famous clothing brands