Labour organizations demand urgent audit/inspections of all garments, chemical industries

Karachi, November 08, 2012 (PPI-OT): Representative organizations of trade unions and labour rights organizations Thursday urged the government to immediately start the health and safety inspections of all chemical and garments factories in Pakistan through provincial labour departments, especially in garments exporting industries which have sought social audit certifications from international inspection companies.

Addressing a joint press conference, the labour leaders including Karamat Ali (Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Noor Mohammad (Port Workers Federation), Mohammad Jafar Khan (Muttahida Labor Federation), Nasir Mansoor (National Trade Union Federation) and others pointed out that the government of Pakistan through Commerce Ministry has provided millions of rupees funds to many garments exporting factories for seeking SA-8000 certification through international organizations.

This certification is being considered as a substitute of the inspection and audit by the Labour department. The official inspection is actually banned in Sindh and Punjab on orders of Chief Ministers for many years, they regretted.

They pointed out that the Italian company RINA, which had issued Social Audit certificate to Ali Enterprises as well as other certification companies have also issued similar SA-8000 certificates to over 100 exporting companies in Pakistan.

They demanded that the government should start audit and inspection of all those companies first to ascertain health and safety facilities available in those industries. Under the Factories Act 1934 the labour departments need to conduct inspection of all the industries to ensure availability of all conducive facilities in these establishments.

Karamat Ali said some international organizations working for rights of workers like Clean Clothes Campaign are also forcing the international buyers to fulfill their responsibility and compensate the workers as some of international buyers did in countries like Bangladesh and Turkey.

The Clean Clothes Campaign with labour rights organizations of Pakistan has identified a major buyer that was purchasing garments from Ali Enterprises and that buyer is being persuaded to fulfill its responsibility. The actual responsibility lies on the owners of the Ali Enterprise, but those international buyers have some obligations, which needs to be fulfilled, he added.

Ali said the labour rights organisations have filed a petition in Sindh High Court on the Baldia factory seeking thorough investigations of the incident and an assurance by the government that such incidents are prevented in the near future.

The honourable court has already ordered the government to provide details of the arrangements of health and safety facilities in all such factories within seven days. Moreover the court has also asked the government to provide details of the persons, who have given DNA test samples to ascertain the deaths of those workers whose burnt bodies lying in mortuaries not still not found.

Karamat Ali said that the labour organizations have decided to set up their data collection centres near the localities where a large number of workers were living. These centres set up in the offices of labour federations and trade union offices would collect information of those workers who are either missing or their bodies are not identified yet.

“We believe dozens of workers are still missing because their bodies were not recovered or feared melted in the high degree of temperature during the fire,” he said adding that all the affected people are requested to approach these centres and provide information. Those workers who have lost their jobs or injured but not received any compensation can contact these centres. He said this data would be provided to Sindh High Court also.

Following is the details of the centres:

1. Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Gulshan-e-Mymar Karachi

ST-001, Sector X, Sub Sectov V, Gulshan-e-Maymar Karachi

Contact: Nayyar Ahmed Siddiqui Ph: 021-36351145-47 Timing: 2PM till 5PM

2. National Trade Union Federation

726 Mashriq Centre Block 14 Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi

Contact: Muhammad Haneef Ph: 0302-2185437 Timing: 10AM till 4PM

i) NTUF Office: Labour Squire Near Philips Chorangi Site Karachi

Contact: Ghani Zaman Ph: 0300-2751822 Timing: 4PM till 8PM
Contact: Mushtaq Shaan Ph: 0313-2775587 Timing: 4PM till 8PM

ii) All Ittehad Power Looms Worker Union, NTUF Office Khyber Chowk, Ittehad Town, Baldia Town Karachi

Contact: Muhammad Abdul Ph: 0345-3795468 Timing: 3PM till 7PM

3. Hosiery Garment Textile and General Workers Union

House No 1725/664, Street No 3, Lasi Para, Baldia Town No.4 Near Edhi Centre, Karachi

Contact: Rehana Yasmeen Ph: 0333-2221426 Timing: 4PM till 6PM

4. Women Welfare and Development Association (WADA)

House No 1329, Sector L-12, Orangi Town Karachi

Contact: Sakeena Rafiq, Hameeda Sikander Ali Ph: 0321-2687155 Timing: 5PM till 7PM

i) Garments Hosiery Labour Association

A/48, Block No 5 Metroville Site Karachi

Contact: Salma Ayub, Nawab Ali Ph: 0321-2552294 Timing: 10AM till 12PM

5. Port Workers Federation

Office No 206-207, 2nd Floor, Anam Centre, Block E-31/B, Ghani Chowrangi, Site Karachi

Contact: Muhammad Arif Ph: 0300-2041048 Timing: 11AM till 8PM
021-32586907-8
Sohail Raza Ph: 0332-3585798

6. Muttahida Labour Federation

Block D, Sher Shah Near Shaheen Restaurant Karachi

Contact: Muhammad Jaffar Khan Ph: 0333-2221491 Timing: 11AM till 5PM

For more information, contact:
Shujauddin Qureshi
Senior Research Associate
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
Gulshan-e-Maymar,
Karachi-75340
Tel: +9221 3635 1145 -7
Fax: +9221 3635 0345
Cell: +92300 392 9788
Web: www.piler.org.pk

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