Unions and labour rights groups in Pakistan are calling on authorities to inspect garment export factories in the country to ensure they comply with health and safety regulations.

The calls come after a fire at the Ali Enterprises factory in September killed 259 workers.

The company, which was producing jeans for German discount retailer KIK, had been awarded an SA8000 certification for decent working conditions from Social Accountability International (SAI) accredited Italian auditor Registro Italiano Navale Group (RINA), just one month before the tragedy.

Social audit certificates have been issued to more than 100 garment factories in Pakistan, according to Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF). He now wants the government to ensure the facilities comply with health and safety measures under the Factories Act 1934.

Karamat Ali from the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER) claims the commerce ministry provides subsidies to garment factories for obtaining SA8000 certification.