The high price of cheap jeans was uncovered in Pakistan on 17 September, with confirmation that the low-cost German brand KIK sourced garments from Ali Enterprises, which burnt down killing almost 300 people.
The fire at Ali Enterprises, the garment factory located in Hub river road, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) in Karachi killed more than 289 workers many of whom were trapped and unable to escape.
There has been widespread outrage and condemnation of the government of Pakistan who failed to ensure basic safety conditions were met at the factory. More than 8,000 people have demanded action to the Prime Minister via the Labour Start campaign here: http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1570
The owners of the factory have been charged with murder, although they have yet to be apprehended by the authorities. An affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union, the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) in Pakistan is calling on authorities to look at charging KIK and any other confirmed buyers from the factory with criminal negligence.Following the terrible disaster, NTUF,social movements and left political parties held a protest march on 15 September.
The rally marched through the Karachi industrial area and finished with a large protest meeting in front of the burnt factory. The participants of the march demanded the arrest of the factory owners, compensation for the families of dead and wounded workers, and the institution of criminal cases against responsible government officials.
The participants criticized the international brands and companies whose negligence and non-respect of related ILO conventions, national labour legislation and international standards on occupational health and safety at the workplace culminated in the worst industrial accident killing more than 300 workers, the majority of whom were less than 30 years old.
The participants also condemned the attitude of the ILO high official in Pakistan who limited communication to labour department officials who, according to workers, were responsible for the tragedy and failed to meet workers’ representatives to get first hand information.
The rally participants appreciated the solidarity expressed by the international union movement especially the IndustriALL Global Union for launching a protest campaign demanding safety at textile factories. To support the Labour Start campaign launched jointly with IndustriALL Global Union follow the link http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1570.