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Pakistan: Factory fire victims welcome renewed talks on compensation

7 June, 2016The Meeting of the Ali Enterprises Affectees Association, held in Karachi on 28 May 2016, welcomed international-level talks on compensation for victims of Pakistan’s worst ever industrial accident.

Two-hundred and fifty-four workers burnt to death trapped behind locked exits at the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Karachi in September 2012. A further 54 people were seriously injured.  During the meeting, representatives of workers and families affected by the tragedy thanked the International Labor Organization (ILO) for agreeing to take on the role of facilitation and coordination of the compensation for the victims.

The meeting also thanked the governments of Germany, as well as trade unions and civil society organizations for their efforts to persuade the German discount retailer KiK to resume talks. KiK, was the only publicly known customer at the factory. 

The meeting underlined the importance of the involvement of the Association of Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees in any talks or agreement. It also passed a resolution to make living wages the basis for calculating compensation.

Lawyers from Germany briefed the gathering on the development of the lawsuit filed in Germany. The three affectees who have filed the case against the KiK will visit Germany to meet trade unions, MPs, government officials and human rights organizations to seek their support. 

Nasir Mansoor, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), called on the government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to stop reoccurrence of similar accidents; to implement international labour standards; and to obtain legally-binding commitments from employers and international brands to ensure the health and safety of workers.

IndustriALL’s textile director, Christina Hajagos-Clausen, said: “IndustriALL hopes to close this chapter as quickly as possible and achieve full compensation for the victims of the Ali Enterprises fire, as we have done for the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse and Tazreen fire in Bangladesh.”

The meeting was attended by a large number of the families of martyred workers and affectees, legal experts and representatives from IndustriALL affiliate NTUF, ECCHR and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC).