• Germany's news in English

Clothing firm increases fire compensation offer

The Local · 24 Oct 2012, 12:46

Published: 24 Oct 2012 12:46 GMT+02:00

At least 289 workers were killed and 110 more injured as fire swept through the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, which made jeans for Western shops, including large contracts with Kik.

Der Spiegel magazine reported on Tuesday that Kik had agreed to pay a total of $500,000 compensation to be shared between the relatives of those who died. This worked out as less than €1,500 for each death, a sum which drew heavy criticism from Pakistani trades unions.

Nasir Mansoor, head of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) representing Pakistani factory workers, said his organisation and the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international group striving for better conditions for garment workers, had forced Kik to increase its compensation.

"We did not agree with the compensation they had announced. We warned them that we would seek for international justice if they did not share responsibility and deservedly compensated the families," Mansoor told AFP.

"Now, Kik has agreed to pay initially €500,000 ($650,000). They would soon pay another half-a-million euros."

Mansoor said NTUF was in talks to secure an even bigger payout for the workers.

Kik agreed to compensate the victims and their families only after activists presented them with evidence that most of the factory's output was destined for its Okey brand, Mansoor said.

"We saw the labels on the merchandise, checked invoices and interviewed the workers to know that at least 90 percent of the garments the Ali Enterprises was producing, was the Okey brand for Kik," he said.

"We contacted the company and asked for the compensation. Initially, they declined to accept the fact, but they finally gave in to the concrete evidence we had."

The Pakistani government has paid more than 100 family members 700,000 rupees ($7,000), but many families say they are still waiting for cheques, which have been held up by governmental red-tape.

Of the 110 workers who were injured, dozens suffered disabling injuries. About 2,000 other workers have lost their livelihood.

"Life has become hell since that fire," said Mohammad Khalid, 29, who worked at the factory with his elder brother Majid. Majid died and Mohammad lost his left arm in the inferno.

"I have to take care of my brother's family as well, but cannot find a job because of my disability," he said.

His family have not yet received compensation from the government and he sees the German company's money as inadequate to offer a better life for the two families.

"We have lost both male breadwinners. This compensation will not help for long. Our women and children will have to work hard to feed all of us," he said.

Two of the three factory owners are facing murder charges. Their application for bail last week was rejected and they were sent to jail on remand.


Related articles

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:48 October 24, 2012 by Englishted
The trade union would be better doing something about the poor working conditions of the workers in clothing and other trades on the sub-Continent.

Because I don't see how it would be a legal responsibility of a customer to see to the heath and safety of a sweatshop.

I am glad that a payment has been made but it must not set a president .
17:10 October 24, 2012 by zeddriver
I'm with you on this Englishted. Kik does not own nor did they build this factory. They offered for bid, a contract to supply them with jeans. It should be the owners of this factory that have to pay compensation for the fire trap they built.

I say kudos to Kik for doing the right thing to help. But it should not be required.
18:44 October 24, 2012 by IchBinKönig

'The trade union would be better doing something about the poor working conditions of the workers in clothing and other trades on the sub-Continent.'

That is exactly the 'precedence' they are trying to establish. The unions would love to collect dues on all goods sold in Europe. The dues from Germany has plateaued, time to expand.
18:45 October 24, 2012 by nstaubach

just for your information, according to EU norms and laws a European entity is suppose to dod an assessment to verify the working conditions and plant layout before placing any orders to a third world country. Yes, Pakistan is known for poor work conditions, but I presume it was already known to Kik. Having said that, I appreciate the efforts of Kik management and wish to buy some products from Kik in future to contribute for such a noble cause.
20:02 October 24, 2012 by Englishted
@ nstaubach

Therein is the problem if " a European entity " followed the E.U. norms and laws (which would follow that the working conditions on heath and safety were of E.U. standard ) then NO firm in Europe would be able to place a order on the Sub-Continent or in China.

Or does the E.U. believe that these countries employees should have lower standards which would be racist would it not?
20:10 October 24, 2012 by IchBinKönig

And wouldn't it be racist if the EU bailout mechanism was only open to European Countries and their 'White' leaders?
20:23 October 24, 2012 by nstaubach

exactly........so the bottom line is everyone wants to make profit by outsourcing and sometimes they tell lies for it.
07:51 October 25, 2012 by die_Unbekannte_müller
I dont know what EU laws say about working conditions but they should make sure the products they are busing are not risking human life.

I appreciate the help even if it is a marketing, the German govt. is not responsible for the lives of > 200.

The contractors of such companies enjoy lives in sub-continent much better then owners of LIDL, etc in Europe because they are earning like crazy by abusing labors ,labor laws, with-out caring for lives, child labor, over-work hours and the list goes on .... Again it is not responsibility of the consumer but Govt of Pakistan. Unfortunately, there is not rule in any govt. department in Pakistan people live under loaded guns or they are part of corruption. The lawlessness situation makes a moral responsibility of companies like KIK to thread owners (the corrupts) to make sure at least lives of workers otherwise the company will stop dealing.

But why would KIK would do this, they also need to have cheap labor and money. The story will be trashed with another killings tomorrow ... :(
08:05 October 25, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ nstaubach #4

Can you please point out the EU laws and norms you mentioned? Links would be sufficient. Thanks!
21:23 October 25, 2012 by nstaubach

please check the following link;


· Bei Produkten, die außerhalb der EU hergestellt und vom Hersteller mit

dessen Marke versehen werden, sollten die Verpflichtungen des

Herstellers von dem Unternehmen wahrgenommen werden, das das

Produkt in die EU einführt (wobei es sich um den Vermittler des Herstellers in der EU handeln kann). In der Praxis wird es in der Regel erforderlich sein, dass der Importeur den eigentlichen Hersteller bei Korrekturmaßnahmen miteinbezieht.

· Bei Produkten, die außerhalb der EU hergestellt und vom EU Zwischenhändler mit dessen Marke versehen werden, sollten die

Verpflichtungen des Herstellers vom Zwischenhändler wahrgenommen

werden. Vermutlich wird dem Zwischenhändler daran gelegen sein,

den eigentlichen Hersteller oder dessen Vermittler bei Korrekturmaßnahmen

07:47 October 26, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ nstaubach #10

Thanks for the link provided. It deals however with the safety of the consumer, not of the workers at the factory where the product originates. So the responsibilities and measures listed do not include checking the working conditions.

Do you have another link?
10:59 October 26, 2012 by raandy
you can mollify this for KIK, but they knew the conditions at this factory ,and they exploited the workers for profit with out any concern for their safety, surely they the buyers for KIK would have declined a job there. Exploiting people like this, with out being held responsible sends the wrong message.

We all should boycott this company. It is a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to expose this kind of blatant exploitation.
15:23 October 30, 2012 by ChrisRea
OK, so it seems that there are no EU norms and laws saying that "a European entity is suppose to dod an assessment to verify the working conditions and plant layout before placing any orders to a third world country".
Today's headlines
Football legend Gerd Müller has Alzheimers
Gerd Müller. Photo: DPA

Football legend Gerd Müller has Alzheimers

7 minutes ago

Former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, the Bundesliga club said on Tuesday. Müller was the most feared striker in world football in the 1970s, scoring a phenomenal 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany as they won the 1972 European Championships and the 1974 World Cup.

UK exit from EU would be 'disaster': Schäuble
Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA

UK exit from EU would be 'disaster': Schäuble

18 minutes ago

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Tuesday that he wanted to do everything possible to keep Britain from leaving the European Union, adding that it would be a disaster for both the British and Europeans.

Activists love-bomb NSA with 'quit spying' drone
The entrance to the Dagger Complex in Darmstadt. Photo: DPA

Activists love-bomb NSA with 'quit spying' drone

16 hours ago

An anti-spying organisation used a drone to drop leaflets over an NSA complex in southern Germany last week, hoping to persuade spooks to choose another line of work.

Greenpeace mulls jump into brown coal biz
Photo: DPA.

Greenpeace mulls jump into brown coal biz

16 hours ago

It might sound like one of the environmental group's protest stunts, but Greenpeace insists it really does want to buy up a series of German brown coal mines and plants offered for sale by Swedish power company Vattenfall.

Volkswagen scandal
VW 'will need bigger cash pile to pay fines'
VW boss Matthias Müller speaking to the press on September 25th. Photo: DPA

VW 'will need bigger cash pile to pay fines'

16 hours ago

The new chief of scandal-hit Volkswagen braced his workforce for tough times ahead on Tuesday, admitting that billions laid aside for fines and damages arising from a massive pollution cheating scam will not be enough.

Rare whale makes home in north German bay
The North Atlantic beaked whale. Photo: DPA

Rare whale makes home in north German bay

17 hours ago

A beaked whale has made itself a home of the Baltic coast of Germany, an unusual location for the Atlantic mammal. Now conservationists are trying to get him out deeper into the Baltic.

Munich bomb 'can't be defused on scene'
Aircraft in the air and space hall of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Photo: DPA

Munich bomb 'can't be defused on scene'

19 hours ago

UPDATE: Police in Munich say that a bomb found in the Deutsches Museum must be moved to a safe location on Tuesday evening before experts can defuse it.

Johann the pig's udderly adorable new family
Johann found love among the herd in Göttingen. Photo: DPA.

Johann the pig's udderly adorable new family

18 hours ago

For one plucky pig in Lower Saxony, mingling with his own species just didn't appeal. The wild hog decided to make friends in higher places – by joining a herd of cows on a Göttingen farm.

Klopp to LIverpool
Can Klopp breath life back into the Liver bird?
Jürgen Klopp. Photo: DPA

Can Klopp breath life back into the Liver bird?

21 hours ago

Liverpool FC are a club with great history who have been mired in mediocrity for years. Is Germany's favourite coach the man to come to their rescue?

Hitler actor warns of threat to democracy
Oliver Massuci in costume as Hitler stretches a fist out over Berlin. Photo: Constantin Film Verleih GmbH/DPA

Hitler actor warns of threat to democracy

21 hours ago

Oliver Masucci, the actor who plays Hitler in satirical film Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who's Back), told ARD news on Monday that Germany must be careful to safeguard its democracy after a barrage of far-right comments from ordinary people.

Are the German public too happy to see Hitler?
Government blocks plans for Berlin 'cannabis cafes'
'Der Klassiker': no classic at all for Dortmund
Dortmund fans' bad behaviour in Thessaloniki
UK Ambassador wants more young Brits in Germany
How Snoop Dogg dissed Munich hip hop scene
More wind power generated so far in 2015 than all of 2014
Rent a nuclear bunker near Berlin for just €3,000 a month
German universities leap up world elite rankings
Business & Money
What to do if you own a cheating Volkswagen
Homeland star's fave Berlin spot is Berghain
Why Dresden Buddhists won't be using the swastika symbol
Mystery of 'murdered' student found alive after 31 years
What wearable technology might look like in the future
Why vegetarian food is more German than a Bratwurst
The very best of traditional German vegetarian food
The secret to more travel for less
The first glimpse of Neptune - from an observatory in Berlin
How VW was rebuilt from nothing... by an English army officer
Our favourite songs about Germany by foreigners
Expats' loves and hates about Germany
Court thinks Sphynx cats are too weird to be allowed to breed
Business & Money
What do cars mean to the Germans?
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd