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‘Sindh to observe Occupational Safety and Health Day on Sept 11 every year’

By Our Correspondent
May 21, 2018

The Sindh government has decided to commemorate ‘Occupational Safety and Health Day’ on September 11 every year in memory of the victims of the Baldia factory fire.

At least 259 labourers, including women, were killed as a massive fire destroyed Ali Enterprises in Baldia Town on September 11, 2012. Information and Labour Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah announced the annual day while addressing the audience at a ceremony held at the Arts Council on Saturday.

The ceremony was organised to mark the commencement process of a long-term compensation arrangement for the families of the victims. Shah said the provincial government was ready to fulfil the promises it had made to the families of the victims of the Baldia factory fire.

He said the government would do everything to resolve the complications, including those caused by certain court decisions, in order to carry out the provision of due compensation, which included the provision of government jobs and residential plots.

Shah also said that the government would play its part in the resumption of pensions of the victims under the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution. He added that a monument would be constructed in memory of the victims as well.

Other speakers present at the ceremony termed the compensation package a historic achievement that would serve as a precedent for various labour organisations, facing precarious working conditions and struggling to fight for their rights.

In this regard, the speakers also hailed the agreement signed between German brand “KIK” and international labour bodies in September 2016 for the payment of a long-term compensation for the victims of the factory fire.

The National Trade Union Federation, Ali Enterprise Factory Fire Affectees Association, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and Sindh Labour Department jointly organised the ceremony, which was attended by a large number of victims and affected families.

Earlier in the day, speaking during a budget session at the Sindh Assembly, Shah, who also holds the portfolio of the transport department, said that the government had completed its part of the work related to the long-delayed Karachi Circular Railway project. “The project is facing delay due to the federal government,” he added.

He said that Sindh government worked expeditiously to construct a mass transit project such as the Orange Line under the Bus Rapid Transit service. He said that more buses would be launched in Karachi as part of the newly unveiled Peoples Bus Service currently operating on Sharea Faisal.