Monday May 27, 2024

Families of Baldia factory

fire victims assured of German company’s support

By our correspondents
April 18, 2015
Families of the Baldia factory fire victims’ were assured of the German company KiK Texitilien’s, the main client of the factory, support for provision of justice as well as compensation money by a six-member delegation of the German South-Asian Parliamentary Group on Friday.
German Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Cyrill Nunn, Consul General of Germany in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner and Consul and Deputy Head of Mission Mr Hans-Jürgen Paschke also accompanied the delegation.
The assurances came after Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali announced to pursue a case against the German company after it retracted from the initial agreement of providing long term compensation to the families.
Ali while welcoming the assurances informed of the German company’s agreement regarding the compensation to be paid to the victims’ families. “As a first step, the KiK Textilien provided $1million for immediate compensation,” which he said was disbursed by a judicial commission formed by the SHC on PILER’s request.
“The procedure of verification was quite lengthy and it took the commission over a year to determine the legal heirs of the victims. Besides the victims’ families the injured workers also received compensation,” he added.
However, lamenting the company for delaying the long term compensation he said a press conference was held in Germany last year to initiate negotiations regarding the initially signed agreement.
“Keeping in view the attitude of KiK, we have decided to file a case against it under German laws,” he said while also requesting the parliamentarians to provide assistance in this regard.
The law makers apprised the participants of the changes in relevant laws which made it compulsory for German companies to sign an agreement with only those manufacturing factories which complied with the global health and safety standards and paid their workers properly; the companies were required to inspect the manufacturing units before signing a contract.
The delegation members claimed the tragedy shocked the garment buyers of the KiK as well as the German people who got concerned about the conditions of the workers in Pakistan and wanted the victims’ families to be compensated.
Advocate Amna Usman while giving a presentation of the legal proceedings initiated by PILER and other labour organisations in lower courts as well as the SHC said it was because of the legal battle that compensation was paid and it got difficult for the influential elite to sideline the matter. A criminal case against the owners of Ali Enterprises was still pending in the lower judiciary, she informed.
Trade unions and civil society representatives including Habibuddin Junaidi, Abdul Latif Nizamani, Shafique Ghauri, Shaikh Majeed, Saeed Baloch, B M Kutty, Muqtida Mansoor, Rehana Yasmin and Shakeela Asghar also attended the meeting.
Over 259 workers of Ali Enterprises were burnt alive on September 11, 2012 after being trapped inside the factory after it caught fire allegedly due to a short circuit; the exit doors of the factory were locked from the outside.