PAKISTAN: Kik "to pay damages" to families of fire victims
German clothing retailer KiK allegedly plans to pay damages totalling US$500,000 to the families of more than 260 workers who died in a fire at a Pakistan factory used to manufacture its clothing.
The payout will mean around $1,930 per victim, Der Spiegel reported. However, reports from Pakistan paper Dawn reported that Nasir Mansoor, head of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) said pressure from his organisation and the Clean Clothes Campaign have forced KiK to increase the compensation by another EUR500,000.
The Pakistani government has paid more than 100 family members PAK700,000 (US$7,303), but many families say they are still waiting for the cheques, according to Dawn.
Der Spiegel said there has also been confusion about the exact number of victims. Workers' representatives in Pakistan estimate that more than 300 people died. Some 63 of the suspected dead are still officially counted as missing.
Another issue impacting the speed of payment, is the lack of contracts linking them to the factory, which makes it hard for them to establish their claims, Der Sepiegel added.
The fire, at the Ali Enterprises factory, located Baldia Town No 2 in the port city of Karachi took place in early September.
According to media reports, close to 1,500 workers were in the building at the time of the fire. Many victims were trapped in a basement with no fire exits and locked doors. Most died from suffocation when the basement filled with smoke. Workers on higher floors rushed to windows to escape, but struggled because metal bars blocked their way.
KiK, the NTUF and the Clean Clothes Campaign have not yet responded to requests for comment.
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