Monday June 17, 2024

Families of Baldia factory fire victims to receive pension from February

By our correspondents
January 16, 2018

Families of the victims of the 2012 Ali Enterprises (Baldia) factory fire will get monthly pensions as a long-term compensation from the amount provided by the German buyer KIK Textilein, starting next month.

This was announced at a joint press conference held on Monday at Karachi Press Club by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director, National Trade Unions Federation’s (NTUF) Nasir Mansoor and Saeeda Khatoon, the chairperson of the Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has finalised the pension distribution formula and hence the process will start from February, they said. More than 250 workers had died on September 11, 2012 when a huge fire broke out in a garments manufacturing factory in SITE industrial area.

Ali said that under an agreement with PILER, KIK Textilien, which used to buy from the factory, had provided USD 1 million in 2012 for immediate compensation of families of the deceased workers following the fire.

That amount was distributed among the affected families through a judicial commission led by a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jaferry. Under the agreement the KIK had also pledged to provide a long-term compensation and the intention to release fund for effective occupational safety and health in the garments manufacturing units.

As a long-term compensation another amount of USD 5.16 million was later provided by the German company, which has been transferred in ILO account. The ILO Country Office in Islamabad chalked out a formula for distribution of pension. An Oversight Committee, with representations from ILO, Sindh government’s labour department, PILER and other labour organisations was then set up.

The Oversight Committee at its formal meeting on August 27 last year discussed three options for the distribution of pensions. At a later meeting convened at the NTUF office on January 7, the victims’ families agreed to accept the third option, which provides a monthly pension of Rs7,545 for parents (in case of unmarried victims) and the same amount for the widows of deceased workers. In case the widow has a child, the set pension would be Rs10,060 and in case she has two children, the amount would be Rs13,138. The pension would be distributed through Sindh Employees Social Security Institution.

“This is the first instance in the world that a compensation system has been established for the families of victims of industrial accidents,” said Ali. NTUF’s Nasir Mansoor said that some international organisations like Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriAll also supported this campaign for compensating victims’ families. He also appreciated the support from ILO and other international organisations and the German company KIK, which has provided the money.

Saeeda Khatoon said that the affected families have accepted the formula for the pension provided by ILO and informed that arrears of last year would be provided to the victims’ families in lump sum.