KARACHI, Sep 11: As little progress is witnessed in the promises made by various authorities to provide relief to the families of more than 260 victims of the Baldia factory fire, activists, survivors and families will call anew for long-delayed compensation and improved industrial conditions on the fire’s fifth anniversary.
The association of the affectees of the Baldia factory fire and the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) will jointly hold a rally outside the Ali Enterprises factory in SITE on Monday (Sep 11) to announce their future strategy.
“No safety measures have been taken since the tragedy which could be evident from accidents happening regularly,” said Nasir Mansoor, deputy secretary general of the NTUF.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) also expressed serious concerns on the prevailing health and safety conditions in factories and other work places in Pakistan.
“Our struggle will continue,” said Saeeda Khatoon, who lost her only son in the blaze and heads the association representing the victims’ families and survivors.
They disapproved of the tactics allegedly being employed by the government and employers to keep factories as unsafe as they were five years ago.
“Such huge loss of life has unfortunately not deterred them to mend their ways,” added Saeeda.
They demanded from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to fulfil the promises made by his leader Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister, in paying financial assistance to the victims’ families and survivors. Nawaz had promised to pay Rs300,000 to the victims.
“Other than Ali Enterprises, there are so many factories in Pakistan which do not comply with health and safety laws, including effective labour inspection,” said Piler chief Karamat Ali.
In Pakistan, he said, only one per cent of workers were unionised, which meant they did not have the power to advocate for their rights.
Published by Daily Dawn on Sep 11, 2017