Over 300 workers burned and suffocated to death - and a call for justice

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A LabourStart campaign in partnership with IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries across supply chains in mining, energy and manufacturing sectors at the global level. IndustriALL Global Union was founded in Copenhagen on June 19, 2012.

The horror of it all is almost unimaginable.

Over 300 workers burned and suffocated to death in their workplaces, a garment factory and a shoe factory.

Some died while trying to jump out of windows to safety.

There were no emergency exits, no escape routes.

Not in Victorian England in the 19th century. Not in New York City a century ago.

But this week, in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

They died in Karachi and in Lahore, making the garments and shoes that you may be wearing right now.

We honour the memory of those lives cut short by demanding justice —

• an impartial inquiry into what happened - and punishing those at fault ;

• compensation for the families of those killed and injured ;

• and an investigation into the failures of those public authorities who should have been there to ensure the workers’ safety.

The unions in Pakistan are asking us all to take a minute and send off our messages of protest to the Prime Minister. Go to :

Pakistan : Make textile factories safe

Over 300 workers were killed in devastating factory fires on 11 September at a garment factory in Karachi and a shoe factory in Lahore, Pakistan.

Various reports indicate that workers could not escape the fire because the factory buildings lacked basic fire safety standards and emergency exits.

The fire at Ali Enterprises, the garment factory located in Hub river road, Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) in Karachi killed more than 289 workers. Many of them died of suffocation as they were trapped in the basement. A large number of workers suffered grievous injuries as they jumped from the building to safety.

It is reported that the factory was illegally established and identifying the dead is extremely difficult as the workers were not registered with government authorities nor received written contracts.

In another fire accident at the four-story shoe manufacturing unit at Lahore about 25 workers were killed.

IndustriALL Global Union joins with unions in Pakistan to demand the government pay compensation of five million rupees (53,000 USD) to the families of the workers who were killed, and two million rupees (21,000 USD) to injured workers and that the workers continue to receive their salary.

Unions are also demanding the government arrest the employer and charge him with murder and take action against the labour department and government authorities that failed to ensure the safety and health of these workers.

Send your message in support of these demands to the Pakistan Prime Minister today.


To Mr Raja Pervaiz Ashraf
Prime Minister of Pakistan

I am writing to express my outrage and horror to hear of the deaths of over 300 workers in a garment and a shoe factory in Pakistan, which occurred on 11 September 2012.

Unions in Pakistan are demanding :

• compensation payments of five million rupees (53,000 USD) to the families of each of the workers who were killed ;

• compensation payments of two million rupees (21,000 USD) to injured workers ;

• an impartial inquiry and punish those found guilty ;
action against the Labour Department and government authorities that failed to ensure the workers’ safety.

I implore you to meet these demands and ensure that from now on national laws on safety issues are in place and that their implementation or failure to do so is closely monitored and sanctioned by the government so that such tragic deaths and injuries in the textile factories of Pakistan will no longer occur.

Voir en ligne : To sign the letter :

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