Workers’ Rights Movement in Pakistan Gains Momentum: Court Orders Arrest of Ali Enterprises Owners

The proceedings begin. The
District Judge Abdullah Channa is listening to arguments presenting evidence
that the factory gates were closed on
orders of the owners and the general manager after the fire broke out.
 At the very least this amounts to unpardonable criminal negligence. Already at
10am the
proceeding ends, but District Judge Channa withholds his judgment. 

H&M: Hypocrisy & Minimum wage

Let's think this through. Pretend you are the superintendent of a school district, and you’ve got all these unreasonable test policies, that have your teachers in their class rooms teaching 10 hour days to make sure they keep their jobs, and that their kindergarten kids pass calculus tests. Then one day, instead of adjusting your test policies and asking teachers to adjust accordingly, you talk to the governor of your state and ask him/her to sort things out. Not very logical.

Contractualization Slammed in “Global Day of Action”

In addition to commemorating the
anniversary of PALEA’s protest against outsourcing last year, the protests also
pushed for the passage of the security of tenure bill pending at Congress.
“Aside from the reproductive health and freedom of information bills, the
security of tenure measure is also jammed at the legislative mill. This social
reform proposal seeks to restrict the epidemic of contractual work and the
proliferation of 6 months endo jobs,” explained Rene Magtubo, PM national

Beggar-Thy-Neighbor: How Burma Will Take Bangladesh’s Sweatshop Jobs

Should either country be getting new trade benefits? Bangladesh has certainly been doing its best to get kicked out of US favor as of late; beginning in 2009, activists asked that Bangladesh’s trade privileges be revoked for horrendous labor rights abuses, including tragic factory fires, arbitrary detention of labor rights activists and rampant nepotism and corruption in the industry. The recent assassination of a human rights activist even prompted Secretary of State Clinton to openly scold Bangladesh’s Prime Minister on a recent visit.

Worker Rights Movement Formed, Launching Movement Against Factory Fire Culprits

Barrister Faisal
Siddique briefed the meeting on the petition filed by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER), National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), PFF, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and other
organizations in Sindh High Court against the relevant government departments
and others responsible for the fire accident. He said that the state has totally
collapsed and only way to protect worker rights is through unified struggle.

It was the consensus of the
meeting to reject the commission and the government's half-hearted measures.

Deadly Denim: Workers Burned Alive Making Jeans for Export

than 300 trapped workers were killed in two separate fires on the same day—289
workers in an apparel factory in Karachi and 25 workers in a shoe factory in
Lahore—a day Nasir Mansoor, leader of the National Trade Union Federation of
Pakistan (NTUF)—calls the “darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s
labor movement.”

Pakistan Factory Fires Tied to Criminal Negligence by Government and Employers

Today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the Federal Investigation Agency will investigate these factory fires. The irony is that the government is still not upholding its responsibility to implement laws with sufficient political will in order to ensure the protection of workers' basic rights, including safe working conditions and freedom of association. Instead, the government's response is to investigate the incident as an isolated, exceptional incident.

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.

Simultaneous Labor Protests In Four Countries Target Hemisphere’s Largest Supplier of Adidas and Nike

Workers’ unions in the four countries formed the Gildan Union Network (Red de Sindicatos de Gildan in Spanish and Réseau de Syndicats de Gildan in French), and are demanding a meeting between top Gildan executives and representatives for each union. Gildan denied the meeting in separate letters to each union, saying such dialogue would “not be productive” due to differences in each country’s labor law. On July 25, each union delivered a letter emphasizing the abuses they face are violations of international conventions and Gildan’s own “Code of Conduct”, again urging the company to meet jointly with the unions.


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