KARACHI: Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (Sessi), working under the Sindh labour ministry on Thursday initiated the process of disbursement of pension to the legal heirs of the victims of Baldia factory fire after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) a day earlier.

The MoU was signed by Abdul Rasheed Solangi, labour secretary, and Vic Van Vuuren, director enterprise department of the ILO, at a programme in which representatives of labour organisations, ILO and Sindh government were also present.

ILO country director Ingrid Christensen; Mukhtar Ahmed, Nasir Mansoor, deputy secretary general of the National Trade Union Federation, and Karamat Ali, executive director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research signed the MoU as witnesses.

Officials said on Thursday heirs of some 60 out of 260 victims of the fire incident took part in the process. The remaining would do so next week.

The funds amount to US $5.15 million, including a margin of $0.25m, provided by German company KiK Textilien after an agreement with PILER in 2012 under which KiK had initially paid $1m for emergency relief during the same year. The incident happened on Sept 11, 2012.

The ILO, under Convention 121 — Employment Injury Benefits Convention, has played an important role in finalisation of long-term compensation, which is now being distributed in the form of pension.

The German company transferred the amount for long-term compensation to the ILO which would provide part of it to Sessi for disbursement.

The ILO in consultation with other parties determines the duration of the initial period of implementation of the Baldia arrangement.

During the provisional period, the ILO will transfer the required monies from the fund as authorised and requested by the oversight committee.

At the end of the provisional period, the ILO will transfer the remaining principal of the fund to the authorities appointed to be in charge.

Under the MoU, Sessi can invest the funds in secured investments expected to receive return of at least two per cent.

An oversight committee with tripartite mechanism has been established to look after the process of disbursement of pensions. Members of that committee included Sindh government’s labour ministry, federal government’s ministry of overseas Pakistanis and human resource, PILER and Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association, besides others.

There are non-member participants and advisers of the oversight committee, which included technical advisers of the ILO, Sindh finance ministry and Sindh province (investments).

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2018

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