• Germany's news in English
 

Factory fire firm offers less than €1,500 a death

Published: 23 Oct 2012 15:00 GMT+02:00

The firm only admitted having a connection with the disaster after non-governmental organisations revealed it was an important contractor for Ali Enterprises, which ran the factory.

Kik stocked its shops on high streets across Germany with €15.99-a-pair jeans made at the Karachi factory, where around 1,500 people worked across three storeys with just four exits and a serious lack of basic safety measures.

It burned to the ground in early September, killing more than 259 workers who were trapped inside and leaving their families destitute.

After Kik was named as a potential customer, it emerged that the company was actually the major contractor of Ali Enterprises, Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday.

Kik has admitted issuing 75 percent of the firm’s contracts, while workers at Ali Enterprises say “at least 90 percent” of their work was for the German discounter, the magazine said.

And although Kik has put $500,000 into a compensation fund for the families of those who died, this has attracted condemnation from Pakistani trades unions – it works out to $1,930 or less then €1,500, for each person who died.

“That is damn little,” said Nasir Mansoor from the Pakistani association of trades unions NTUF. “And we also don’t know when and via whom the payments will be made.”

He said if the money on offer is not increased, relatives and survivors would sue Kik.

Kik manager Michael Arretz has been trying to improve the firm’s image over the last couple of years, Der Spiegel said.

He has made assurances that the compensation fund would go to families, particularly those affected who had not been given any support by the Pakistani government, which has promised around €5,500 to those who lost relatives.

Many families have complained they have received nothing, while those who have been given cheques say they either bounce – or that they do not have bank accounts in which to cash them.

There remains confusion about how many people actually died in the fire – with 63 still registered as missing, trades unions say more than 300 died. Twenty-nine bodies remain unidentified.

Arretz told Der Spiegel he had had difficulty organising the payments as the company did not have a suitable agent on the ground, but that there was now someone in place.

The unions in Karachi say Kik knew about the terrible safety standards at the factory, including blocked escape routes and sealed windows. Many of the people working there had no contracts, making it difficult for those who were hurt in the fire – and those whose relatives perished – to prove they were there.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:14 October 23, 2012 by lucksi
1500 Euro over there is like 50k here?

And why is Kik paying at all? It's not their factory, now is it? Is my biggest customer who is responsible for over 60% of my factories contracts responsible if a death or several occur in my factory? I somehow don't think so. And I doubt his company will be if he ever buys over 75% of my output.
19:32 October 23, 2012 by raandy
I am not sure of the buying power of less than 1500 euros ,what ever that is. it seems cheep to me.
19:47 October 23, 2012 by Englishted
I am inclined to agree why is it the customer's fault ?,if Pakistan can spend money on a nuclear bomb they can spend some protecting their workers too much to hope for same as India with it's space program.
20:47 October 23, 2012 by jamesbondking
@Englishted .... dude this article was abt pakistan and NOT INDIA .

u better stick to the topic and dont deviate ....

as ur name suggests , u english looted and plundered all the money from india and what makes u jealous of indias space program.

its indias money and we can spend it where we want . dont worry about the poor and the toilets in india , we have more billionaires then ur whole population .

so kindly dont deviate from the topic .

indians have given the world so much from decimal number system , to chess , ayurveda , yoga and many more .
20:58 October 23, 2012 by Englishted
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:11 October 23, 2012 by marimay
I dunno.. from what I could tell, poor people in India eat better than McDonalds/ junk food/ bland cuisine loving westerners.

Anyway... on topic. We need to stop sending jobs to other countries where we know they don't take care of their own, just to save a buck.
21:16 October 23, 2012 by ishq
i think its a good move, kik cannot bring back the dead people.all those died belong to very poor families. some were the only earning person in the whole family .

1500 euros will be around 183000 pakistani rupees. which will help them to begin a new life.. as federal governament and lcoal govt. also promised to help them out.

hopefully they will be able to come out of this trauma.

as far as pakistan atom bomb and indian space programme are concerened, they dont relate to this topic.

regards
21:27 October 23, 2012 by jamesbondking
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:18 October 23, 2012 by zene
The reason why kik should also support those affected: civilization and humanity are not centred around business. No amount of compensation can make up for the lives lost, but i still appreciate that fact that kik stood up to its moral responsibility. The amount offered, and the reasons that drove kik to offer compensation are different topics.

@jamesbondking & Englishted: i dont believe you have contributed anything to either English language or decimal number system or whatever stuff you guys are fighting over. Please stop holding yourselves as your nation's representatives.. it embarrasses us.
22:35 October 23, 2012 by jamesbondking
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:07 October 23, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
1,5000 for a death. That is about what they pay in Germany for blatant failure to care for employees and the public. Don't point fingers from Germany when relatively speaking Germany is no better.
14:08 October 24, 2012 by Manasa
The factory was set under fire because of lack of safety measures.They dont have certifications like ISI,BSCI,SA etc...If the factory would have had all these , then the workers would have survived now.

We should not blame the factory.There are lot of Factories all over Asia who work without safety measures.The brands like KIK,Lidl,Aldi must not work with these factories as its like putting the workers life on risk.

We should blame KIK to this issue as they have chosen a factory only for the price issues.Just imagine if the Kids T-shirts are sold for 3€ what will be the Buying price?1€ maximum with added import+freight charges it would be 1.30 € maximum.....

So also think about the garment quality first when you buy them for cheap rates.....
14:47 October 24, 2012 by 231555725
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:40 October 24, 2012 by Englishted
The safety standards are a lot lower on the sub-Continent ,with the governments not investing in the heath of their respective nations ,I think it is a nice gesture to payout the money as it can't be the responsibility of the customer as to the fire safety . @Manasa you raise some valid points but the respective cost of a item is not the judge as to where it is made or the conditions of the workforce look if you will at the "designer" names that use sweatshops yet charge a vast price for the finished article because of the name.
14:06 October 25, 2012 by Manasa
@Englishted

yes you are right.There are many high end fashion brands who buy the garments from Asia cheaply.But i would like to add a point that these brands work only with the factories which has cleared the auditing with Standards as i have specified in my above statement.C&A is also offers reasonable rates, but they work with only the factories that has passed all the safety rules and regulations....Thats make a difference now.
20:31 October 25, 2012 by Englishted
@Manasa

Fair enough ,I didn't intend question your points just seeking clarity .
Today's headlines
School hotpants ban sparks online debate
Photo: DPA

School hotpants ban sparks online debate

A school's decision to ban hot pants for girls during the July heatwave has sparked anger online, with feminist activists decrying the decision as sexist. READ  

Greece crisis
Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit
Over 60 percent of Greeks voted 'No' in the referendum. Photo: DPA

Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a eurozone summit on Tuesday to discuss new Greek reform proposals, Greek government sources said. READ  

Students fight for life after chimney plunge
The Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (Academy of Arts). Photo: DPA

Students fight for life after chimney plunge

Two students had to be rescued by fire services after falling 30 metres down a chimney at the the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts on Sunday night. READ  

Lion cub raised in living room leaves home
Zookeeper Isabelle Wallpott with Malor. Photo: DPA

Lion cub raised in living room leaves home

Malor has lived at home with a zookeeper in the Eifel mountains for the last five months. Now the little lion cub is about to be reintroduced to his mother. READ  

July heatwave
Bavarian town roasts in record temperatures
A farmer waters strawberries near Kitzingen in Lower Franconia. Photo: DPA

Bavarian town roasts in record temperatures

The small town of Kitzingen in Bavaria registered a new record temperature for Germany, as the mercury reached 40.3 C on Sunday. READ  

Having kids later makes for a happy family
Children make us happy, but only up to a point. Photo: DPA

Having kids later makes for a happy family

Children are a blessing? Only for parents over a certain age, and then only up to a certain number, a study published by a German research institute shows. READ  

Greece crisis
How will Germany react to the Greek vote?
Angela Merkel has some more sleepless nights ahead of her. Photo: DPA

How will Germany react to the Greek vote?

Now that Greeks have voted against accepting tough austerity conditions in return for a fresh tranche of bailout cash, The Local asked Professor Michael Wohlgemuth of Open Europe Berlin how Chancellor Angela Merkel, other political leaders and the German public may respond. READ  

Post strike ends Monday as agreement reached
Photo: DPA

Post strike ends Monday as agreement reached

Public sector union Verdi has reached a final agreement with Deutsche Post after a strike that lasted four weeks, meaning postal service should return to normal starting on Tuesday. READ  

Women's World Cup
Löw defends Neid as critics circle after defeat
Silvia Neid congratulates England after Germany's 1-0 defeat. Photo: DPA

Löw defends Neid as critics circle after defeat

World Cup winning coach Joachim Löw defended his female counterpart Silvia Neid on Monday after Germany fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat to England in the third place play-off of the Women's World Cup. READ  

Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list
An eightfold composite picture of different views of the Chilehaus (Chile House) and the Sprinkenhof in Hamburg. Photo: EPA/Christian Charisius/dpa/picture alliance

Hamburg districts make UNESCO heritage list

The UN cultural agency on Sunday designated Hamburg's historic maritime warehouse and business districts, boasting early 20th century German brick architecture, as World Heritage sites. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,887
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd