Death Trap Factories in Pakistan

Ali Enterprises factory was an export-oriented factory that was established
illegally without being registered under the country's Factory Act. Here in Pakistan the majority of factories are not registered as required by the Factory Act, as to avoid rules and regulations and to deny workers their rights.

According to the Karachi Building Authority (KBA), the factory building was not propertly approved. In Pakistan, safety measures are seldom
observed in any workplace, and such was the case at Ali Enterprises. The 500 workers had no exit point except one at the time of emergency. All the factory windows were iron-grilled. Doorways and
stairs were stuffed with finished or semi-finished merchandise.

The factory used a generator as an alternate source of electricity, but
without the proper safety precautions. This became the main cause of the fire
eruption when the boiler exploded. At least three hundred young male and female
workers perished within a couple of hours. Many dead bodies are still in the rubble. No fire extinguishing equipment has been found in the factory.

The majority of the workers were contracted by a third party. None of the workers had a work appointment letter from the factory, making all the more difficult the identification of the dead bodies. None of the workers were registered with Social Security, the Employees Old Age Benefit Institute (EOBI), or with the Worker Welfare Board/Fund. The factory workers were not allowed to
form a union and have collective bargaining rights. The workers who
survived the accident reported that the factory itself was insured but that the workers were not. They expressed concern over the large amounts that the factory owner might get in insurance claims.

The National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF) reacted swiftly to the accident by organizing a protest demonstration in Karachi
and demanding the arrest of the factory owner, filing criminal cases against relevant departmental heads, and calling for the resignation of the labour minister, the minister for
industries, and of the Governor and Chief Minister of Sindh due to the severe negligence on
their part. 

The NTUF also demanded compensation of PKR one million (US$10,576) for the families of deceased workers and PKR 400,000
(US$4,230) for wounded workers along with free medical treatment. NTUF also demands strict labour inspections of all factories in coordination with worker-representative bodies,
the registration of all factories under the Factory Act, the upholding of health and safety laws, the abolishment of the dreaded contracted-worker system, the issuance of appointment
letters to all workers at the time of hiring, and registration with social
security, old-age benefit institutions, and worker-welfare programs.

The NTUF also appeals to international bodies of workers to
put pressure on international apparel brands to force local manufacturers
to respect labour laws and workplace safety standards, in accordance with ILO conventions and local laws in the country of production.

Nasir Mansoor is the Deputy General Secretary of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) of Pakistan.




re: Death Trap Factories in Pakistan

Does anyone know the name of the company whose clothing was being manufactured there?

re: Death Trap Factories in Pakistan

OKAY Jeans, a Germany company, was one of the brands. Hopefully it won't be too much longer til the other brands come to light.