Fire victims not yet fully compensated

A total of 286 workers died and dozens were injured when a fire destroyed the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi on September 11, 2012. Throughout 2013 the Clean Clothes Campaign has been putting pressure on the main buying company KiK to pay long-term compensation to the victims and the families of the deceased.
Foreign buyers don’t care about the working conditions at the factories here. A 30-minute visit to the factory would have revealed that the labourers are provided with none of the facilities that the owners claim in the documents sent to buyers.” - Nasir Mansoor, National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with other labour rights groups from Pakistan and North America, initially campaigned against the German company KiK. This German retailer was the sole buyer at Ali Enterprises, and CCC called on them to pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured. In January 2013 the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and KiK signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which established the process for delivering initial compensation payments to the victims amounting to US $1million. The contributors to the fund were KiK, the factory owners and local benefactors. This covered the initial costs, including the burial of the dead and the medical costs of the injured. However, the amount of the initial compensation fell far short of the total amount needed.

Negligent inspections

The Clean Clothes Campaign, together with partners in Pakistan and associates such as the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and European organisations such as Medico and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have been campaigning to ensure an agreement with retailer KiK to pay the compensation. The alliance has also tried using legal avenues to establish court ordered compensation procedures.

Furthermore, the certifying body Social Accountability International (SAI) was held responsible, and was requested to contribute to the compensation, since it is thought to have acted negligently. The SAI inspections one month before the fire concluded that the factory met international labour standards, and failed to reveal the barred windows and the lack of fire exits.


See also:

Still awaiting compensation in Pakistan: one year after Ali Enterprises burnt down

Fatal Fashion - Analysis of Recent Factory Fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh