Joint statement: Global Unions reject KiK’s attempts to dodge compensation for Pakistani fire victims

published 21-09-2015 11:56, last modified 21-09-2015 11:56
IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign reject KiK’s assertions in its recent statement and its attempts to obfuscate issues related to compensation for the victims of the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan.

IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the Clean Clothes Campaign reject KiK’s assertions in its recent statement and its attempts to obfuscate issues related to compensation for the victims of the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan.

We would like to clarify that in the aftermath of the disaster an immediate relief fund was set up in order to provide emergency assistance to the survivors and victims’ families. The fund acquired US$ 1.7 million in total, including the US$1 million from KiK, which was distributed to the victims’ families by the Commission established by the Sindh High Court. KiK’s claim that the victims received several million dollars is therefore incorrect.

KiK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 21 December 2012 agreeing to contribute towards the immediate relief fund, as well as enter into mutual negotiations to pay long-term compensation to all the affected individuals.

We welcome KiK’s proposal for compensation for loss of income and medical costs based on ILO Convention 121, which KiK initially rejected. However, it is crucial that it comes with the necessary financial commitment and is adapted to the specific national context of Pakistan, for which we could use the technical assistance of the ILO.

The ongoing court case filed by four victims against KiK in Germany does not cover all victims and covers different losses than ILO Convention 121. Therefore, the court case does not release KiK from its responsibility to negotiate long-term compensation as set out in the MOU signed by the company.

In its press release KiK also refers to the Bangladesh Accord as a sign of their commitment to high safety standards. While we do support this groundbreaking agreement, we do not see how it results in any improvement for suppliers in Pakistan.

KiK must remember the bigger picture - that more than 250 workers lost their life in a preventable tragedy and 55 more were severely injured. These people were parents, children, siblings, and dear loved ones.

We therefore invite KiK to return to the negotiating table in good faith and reach an agreement to pay long-term compensation to all victims, including those victims who have filed legal cases, without further delay. We also call on KiK to develop a robust strategy to prevent such accidents from happening again.