KARACHI: Represen-tatives of a European organisation are currently in Karachi to hold meetings with the families of the Baldia Town factory fire victims, it emerged on Tuesday.

Medico International Organisation’s representative Thomas Siebert met around 25 families of those killed in the Baldia factory fire to discuss filing of court cases for compensation.

Speaking about it over the phone, the executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Karamat Ali, said: “Families are being advised on how to go about filing individual cases. Two to three people will be nominated from the 25 [families] who will file court cases to get compensation.”

But Mr Ali along with the counsel for the victims is waiting to get the collective compensation from a German firm, KIK.

“The company went back on its word after signing a memorandum of understanding with the labour organisations to support a long-term compensation for the families of the victims,” he said.

The KIK used to buy 90 per cent of the product made at the Baldia factory until the huge fire broke out in 2012. Following the incident, it agreed to pay for the long-term compensation to the families of the victims. The company later refused to pay, according to the officials at Piler.

The Piler chief said, “These individual court cases, for which Mr Siebert is meeting the families, will benefit only a select few: basically those who can afford court cases will get the compensation, that too, if they win the case. Our agreement with the KIK will benefit everyone whether they choose to go to the courts or not.” For this purpose, Piler is still waiting for a response from the German company this month. “We’ll pursue a legal cases against it if we don’t hear from them till early next month,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2014

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