KARACHI: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Thursday officially announced that it would coordinate with all the stakeholders to facilitate the payment of compensation to the victims of Baldia garments factory fire.
The decision was made in the presence of German export brand, KiK, that had earlier backed off from an agreement signed with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) in December 2012.
The statement, which was posted on the official website of the ILO, comes nearly a week after the ILO deputy director-general Gilber Houngbo had convened a meeting upon recommendation and support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and with the representatives of the KiK, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the IndustriALL Global Union in Geneva.
The ILO claimed that it would soon undertake a fact-finding exercise to review the “most rapid way of delivering the financial assistance due to the victims of Ali Enterprises”. A fact-finding mission would carry out the task under the supervision of ILO country director officer for Pakistan Ingrid Christensen.
Earlier in April, the counsel for the Ali Enterprises fire victims, Advocate Faisal Siddiqi, had confirmed to Dawn that the ILO had agreed to mediate and coordinate the compensation process and the German export brand, KiK, had accepted the ILO’s role of facilitator.
Speaking to Dawn about the latest development, Advocate Siddiqi said: “For the first time in the history of our country, a foreign government has pushed for a compensation process in Pakistan. They could have easily backed off, but pushed ahead since the exporter was from Germany, and they felt ethically bound to help, which is commendable.”
Advocate Siddiqi said the ILO statement was basically an acceptance and bolstering of an earlier agreement that was signed by the German brand KiK and Piler in December 2012.
“Three things had been agreed upon following the Sept 11, 2012 fire,” he said. “Firstly immediate relief was to be provided to the heirs of the deceased with a compensation of one million dollars. Secondly, KiK along with Piler was to decide the long-term compensation for the families; and lastly, to provide assistance of $250,000 to Piler to enforce and inspect labour laws in Pakistan.
In March 2015, four heirs of the labourers filed a case against the brand in regional court of Dortmund, Germany. KiK representatives informed the court in September 2015 that they had already issued compensation to the families and were no longer bound to help. The matter of compensation remained a bone of contention between the stakeholders until the ILO accepted the role of facilitator.
Courtesy : Dawn News