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Pakistan holds action day for victims of Ali Enterprises fire

14 April, 2016IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Pakistan have been protesting in cities across the country calling for compensation for victims of the country’s worst-ever industrial accident.

Some 254 people burnt to death and more than fifty seriously injured after being trapped in the Ali Enterprises garment factory fire in Baldia town, Karachi, on 11 September 2012.

IndustriALL affiliate, the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan, together with the Association of the Affectees of the Baldia Tragedy, organized several rallies as part of the 14 April nationwide action day in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad, Hub and Karachi itself. 

Other IndustriALL affiliates, including the Textile Powerlooms and Garment Workers Federation, as well as a number of civil society groups in Pakistan, also organized demonstrations around the action day.

Discount retailer KiK, Ali Enterprises' only confirmed customer, is yet to pay the long-term compensation it promised to victims and their families, despite a commitment signed in a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2012.

“It is unfortunate that the German retailer KiK, which entered into agreement with workers’ organizations and agreed to pay compensation, is running away from fulfilling its commitment,” said IndustriALL general secretary, Jyrki Raina, in a letter of solidarity to Pakistani affiliates.

“IndustriALL Global Union will work with its affiliates in Pakistan to ensure that KiK fulfils its responsibility towards the victims of the disaster.”

KiK, which has 3,200 stores across Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe, is the only company that is linked to the three most deadly disasters to hit the garment industry in recent times – the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan; the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh (2012); and the Rana Plaza factory building collapse, also in Bangladesh (2013).

Despite international pressure, KiK continues to stall efforts to negotiate a proper compensation scheme.