NTUF asks govt to ensure the rights of textile industry workers
KARACHI: National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) has asked the government to ensure the rights of textile workers.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday in connection with third anniversary of Bangladesh Rana Plaza tragedy, the NTUF leaders said the government is not taking any steps to improve the plight of textile workers.
Three years ago on April 24, 1,129 workers had died and 2,515 others injured when the building of Rana Plaza collapsed in Dhaka. “A same tragedy had also happened in Karachi on September 11, 2011, in Ali Enterprises where 260 workers were burnt alive, which shows that the local and international labour laws are being deliberately and criminally violated in factories and mills, especially textile and garment factories,” the observed.
“Regretfully, the government departments are also involved in this conspiracy. In Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries millions of workers are engaged in textile and garment industry, but in these countries, especially in Pakistan and Bangladesh, these workers are deprived of their basic rights guaranteed to them under the law and constitution,” they remarked.
They said generally many big factories have been working illegally since long and they are not bothered to get them registered. “The process of labour inspection has been suspended by the government due to the pressure of factory owners. Mostly these incidents have occurred in the garment factories that make goods for big international brands. These international brands are ignoring all local and international safety standards and violating local and international laws to maximise their profit exploiting the cheap local labour. This is why the millions of workers in textile and garment sector have been facing a brutal exploitation,” they lamented.
“Due to their cheap wages local and international capitalists and companies are earning billions of dollars annually; however, they are not taking any steps for workplace health and safety, decent wages and social security for workers.”
They alleged the governments, factory owners and the international brands are directly responsible for such tragedies, as due to their negligence thousands of workers have to lose their lives.
“To cope with this situation it is necessary that international and local labours laws must be implemented and the international safety standards also implemented to save the lives of workers,” they urged.
They said it is necessary to Referring to the upcoming international conference on textile and garments in Islamabad to be held on May 24, the union leaders said, “For making the conference successful, it is necessary that the victims of Rana Plaza and Ali Enterprises tragedies are doled out justice.”
They said the heirs of the Ali Enterprises martyrs are still running from pillar to post to get justice. “Three years have passed but the government, factory owners and international brands have failed to meet the demands of victims of Ali Enterprises tragedy. It is a pity that the related international organisations and movements have failed to compensate the victims of Ali Enterprises tragedy as per law.”
“For realisation of the rights of workers, the system of labour inspection should be revived and made even more effective. The promises about following human and labour rights under the GSP+ should be fulfilled,” they demanded.
They said that the labour organisations should be included in the process of issuing audit certificates of local and international social audit companies and the malpractice to use these certificates as alternate to the labour inspection should be stopped.
“Illegal system of contract labour should be ended and appointment letters should be issued to workers at the time of recruitment,” they added.
Those spoke included NTUF President Rafiq Baloch, Deputy General Secretary Nasir Mansoor, Gul Rahman and others.
Later, a protest demo was also held before the KPC to express solidarity with the “martyrs” of Rana Plaza tragedy.