KARACHI: Speakers at a function on Sunday said that though six years had passed since the inferno in the Ali Enterprise factory in 2012, the working conditions in most factories had not improved yet.
The function was jointly organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), the National Trade Union Federation, Rasheed Rizvi Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights and Ali Enterprise Factory Fire Affectees’ Association at the Piler Centre to remember victims of the worst-ever industrial disaster in the country on its sixth anniversary.
Sindh Human Rights Commission chief retired Justice Majida Rizvi presided over the meeting.
The speakers said the workers in the country were still struggling for their fundamental rights while the International Labour Organisation had categorised Pakistan among the countries having worst working conditions in the world.
Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, who was the chief guest at the function, stressed the need for forming an alliance of workers, middle-class and intellectuals for a joint struggle to get fundamental rights for everyone.
He said: “Unfortunately the state has failed to provide fundamental rights to workers. Right to association is provided in the Constitution but the state through a strategy has destroyed trade union movements in the country.”
An International Labour Organization (ILO) representative Belinda Chanda said that the ILO was making efforts to make workplaces safer in Pakistan.
Liana Foxvog of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) recalling her organisation’s efforts, said that the CCC had worked very hard to identify and locate the German company “KiK”, which used to import clothes from Ali Enterprise.
Karamat Ali of the Piler said that the Ali Enterprise fire was the worst man-made industrial disaster in the country in which over 259 workers burnt to death. He said that there was no trade union in the factory.
Senior lawyer Faisal Siddiqi questioned the findings of the joint investigation team.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018