KARACHI: Affectees of Baldia factory fire staged a protest demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) here Sunday against undemocratic attitude of International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The demo was organised by National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), Association of the Affectees of Baldia Factory Fire and PILER. It was led by the association leaders Muhammad Siddique and HusnaKhatoon.
A large number the heirs of the martyred labours, injured workers, representatives of political, social and human rights organisations and trade unions members including Nasir Mansoor of including National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), Karamat Ali of National Labor Council (NLC), Gul Rehman of Workers Rights Movement, KhizerQazi of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Muhammad Siddique, HasnaKhatoon and Muhammad Jameel of Ali Enterprise Factory Fire Affecttees Association,)attended the demo.
Speakers said that in 2016 a pact was inked between the German brand KIK, IndustriaAll Global Union and Clean Cloth Campaign (CCC) under which the German brand handed 5.1 million dollars to the ILO for long-term compensation for the heirs and injured.
Under this agreement, an oversight committee was formed for investment in Pakistan, payment to affectees in installments and other related matters with representation of related labour organisations, heirs, employers, labour department and the ILO.
In this agreement it was decided that this money would be invested in Pakistan so that lifetime payment to the affectees could be made possible and till the funds are invested with mutual agreement, an agreed amount would be paid to the affectees on monthly basis.
In this regard a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ILO and government of Sindh through which monthly payment to the affectees was carried out through Sindh Employees Social Security Institute (SESSI).
ILO; however, violating the agreement and without consulting the stakeholders inked an agreement to an insurance company and handed over all the funds to it. The affectees were not taken into confidence before or after this development. Despite the demands of affectees and labour organisations the agreement with the insurance firm is not being sharee with them. This attitude of the ILO in against the principle of transparency and tantamount to disrespect to the affectees.
On the other hand, the Sindh labour department in connivance with the ILO announced to disband the Oversight Committee (OSC) without any consideration or prior information. This undemocratic attitude of the ILO and unilateral decision of the labour department has created uncertainty for the affectees of Baldia factory fire.
Refusal to share the agreement of ILO with the insurance company and announcement of the labour department to end the OSC has not only made this affair dubious but also created a lot of bitterness for 260 affected families. The ILO and the labour department are not willing to answer to the reservations of the affectees. This attitude of the ILO and government bureaucracy is against the principles of transparency and accountability, which in condemnable.
The affectees of the Baldia factory fire have demanded to make public the secret agreement between the ILO and the insurance company and immediately restore the oversight committee.
The affectees have been continuing their struggle and they have consulted noted legal experts in this regard and they would initiate litigation next month. In continuation of their protest, they would hold demonstrations in front of Sindh Assembly and ILO office in Karachi.