MADRID -Swedish fashion retailer H&M will pay a 500 euro ($530) bonus to some 4,000 shop workers in Spain and Portugal next month, it said on Wednesday, after its arch-rival Inditex offered 1,000 euros to its home country shop assistants.
The world's biggest fashion retailers are responding to demands from their workers for higher pay to offset soaring consumer prices.
H&M's one-off payment was agreed with two of Spain's largest labour unions, UGT and CCOO, the same ones who reached an agreement with Inditex last month.
"H&M's bonus is lower but reaches more workers," said Lucia Trenor, a CCOO union representative, adding that Inditex's bonus, which will be paid in February 2023, depends on the number of hours that shop assistants work.
The decision applies to Spain and its Iberian neighbour Portugal, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
The Sweden-based fashion retailer will pay 500 euros to all its shop workers who have been employed in Spain at least since January 2022. The company will pay 250 euros to those who have worked at least six months.
Trenor said her union will keep negotiating to get higher wages beyond the one-off bonus.
Soaring consumer prices have pushed unions in Spain to press sometimes reluctant employers for pay raises. Inflation has resulted in strikes in several industries such as air transportation and retail.
About 1,000 Inditex shop assistants went on strike on Black Friday in its home town in northern Spain and are planning to walk out again on Friday and Jan. 7.
Unlike Inditex, whose profits kept on rising despite inflation this year, H&M has lost some ground and was the first large European retailer to announce a staff layoff in November.
($1 = 0.9425 euro)