• Germany's news in English
 

Clothing firm increases fire compensation offer

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.

AFF/hc

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
@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.'

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
@Englishted:

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
@Englishted

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
@Englishted:

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
@ChrisRea

please check the following link;

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_safe/action_guide_de.pdf

· 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

miteinzubeziehen.
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
Energy prices drive return to inflation
Photo: DPA

Energy prices drive return to inflation

Inflation in Germany crept higher in March, driven by rebounding energy prices, preliminary data showed on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa questions 60th anniversary jubilee

Germany's national airline is reconsidering plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary on April 15th following last weak's deadly crash of a plane from subsidiary Germanwings in the French Alps. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies
Photo: DPA

Prosecutor: co-pilot had suicidal tendencies

A spokesman for prosecutors in Düsseldorf said on Monday that Germanwings flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies in the years before obtaining his pilot's license. READ  

Minister admits army guns' 'accuracy problem'
A German soldier aims a G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Minister admits army guns' 'accuracy problem'

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen admitted on Monday that the German army's standard rifle suffered from an “accuracy problem” - almost 20 years after it was first brought into service. READ  

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs
Photo: DPA

Minister promises “shredding-free” eggs

Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt hopes to end mass shredding of male chicks in hatcheries in the next two years, he announced on Monday. READ  

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit
The site of the Germanwings crash in the French Alps. Photo: DPA

Düsseldorf police set up special 'Alps' unit

A new police unit, which will go under the name “Alps”, includes 100 officers whose task it is to identify victims of the Germanwings crash and to investigate the background of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. READ  

Presented by the Croatian National Tourist Board
10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb
Zagreb is a hot spot for tourists from Germany. But why? Photo: Shutterstock

10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb

The Croatian capital is the latest trendy destination among Germans seeking warmer weather. So what’s the lure? The Local investigates ten reasons why the Deutsch are flocking to Zagreb. READ  

Greece crisis
Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words
Greek Independence Day celebrations on March 24th. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called on German and Greek leaders to calm their rhetoric over his country's bailout programme in an op-ed published in Germany on Monday. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found
A flight data recorder. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found

Germany's national airline Lufthansa says that the flight data recorder which could provide key evidence about the causes of the Germanwings plane crash last Tuesday may never be found. READ  

Rail in north and east delayed by storms
Photo: DPA

Rail in north and east delayed by storms

Rail passengers will have to deal with delays on several key rail lines after storms on Sunday night caused damage to infrastructure. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

7,039
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd