Demand to fulfil promises with heirs of factory fire victims

Karachi: A large number of workers’ protest demo here in connection with the third anniversary of Ali Enterprises factory fire and expressed their dismay that the promises of Prime Minister, Chief Minister and tycoon Malik Riaz with heirs of factory fire victims are still unfulfilled.

The protest demo was jointly organized by National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Baldia factory Fire Affectees Association, led by central president of NTUF Mohammad Rafiq Baloch and Association of the Affectees of Baldia Tragedy President Mohammad Jabir. The protestors regretted that despite passage of third years the heirs of the victims are still waiting for justice. Life and health of workers is still not safe in factories, industries and workplaces.

Speakers on the occasion said the mill owners, international institutions, senior government functionaries and other notable personalities despite passing of three years have failed to fulfil their promises with the heirs of factory fire victims.

They reminded that the sitting chief minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah had promised to give one plot and one government job to every affected family. They said the sitting Prime Minister, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, who was then the leader of opposition had promised that the government of Punjab would give a compensation of Rs0.3million to each affected family. Malik Riaz, the owner of Baharia Town had promised compensation of Rs0.2mn to each bereaved family, but the chief minister and the prime minister have failed to fulfil their promises, while the compensation announced by Malik Riaz was not paid to all heirs.

They said the government had also promised to take solid steps for safety of life of workers in all factories and workplaces, but this promise too is still unfulfilled. Even today workers are dying and being maimed in factories and workplaces due to incidents because of the lack of safety and healthcare measures.

They said in Bangladesh after a similar tragedy of factory fire, international companies, local and international trade unions and labour organizations in collaboration with the government had decided to implement any accord regarding saving lives of labours at workplaces and securing their other due rights. However, in Pakistan even after the grave tragedy of Baldia factory fire, the local industrialists, government, and the international brands are not ready to ensure workplace safety and give due rights to workers.

They demanded that the German brand KIK and Italian social audit company RINA should accept the responsibility of Baldia factory fire and pay compensation to their heirs of victims. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sindh Chief Minister and Malik Riaz should also fulfil their promises. The heirs should be issued lifetime pension cards. Workers in factories and workplaces should be provided safer work environment.

On the occasion, they announced that on the occasion of the third anniversary of Baldia factory fire, on Friday, September 11, a big rally would be held at the site of tragedy, Ali Enterprises, Hub River Road, SITE, Baldia Town, Karachi at 3:00PM.

Those spoke included Rafiq Baloch, central president of NTUF, Rahman Gul NTUF Sindh chapter president, Association of the Affectees of Baldia Tragedy President Mohammad Jabir, Saeeda Khatoon, Home Based Women Workers Federation general secretary Zehra Khan and others.