Workers demonstrate in Karachi following the factory fire at Ali Enterprise

Workers demonstrate in Karachi following the factory fire at Ali Enterprise

The Pakistan factory where more than 260 workers lost their lives when a fire broke out last week was believed to be producing garments for German low-cost retailer KIK, a labour rights group has claimed.

Labels from one of KIK brands were found in the Ali Enterprises factory, which was producing jeans for the low-cost retailer, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Around 650 workers were working at the factory when the fire broke out last Tuesday (11 September). Locked fire exits, barred windows and blocked stairways meant almost half of them perished, while many others were injured after jumping from the top floor of the building.

The factory was not legally registered and had not undergone any building checks or government inspections.

The owners of the factory have now been charged with murder, although they have yet to be apprehended by the authorities.

The National Trade Union Federation in Pakistan is now calling on authorities to look at charging KIK and any other confirmed buyers from the factory with criminal negligence.

Over the weekend garments were recovered from the factory carrying the 'Okay' logo, a label produced and sold in KIK stores in Germany, Austria and across Eastern Europe.

To date the company has failed to take responsibility, the Clean Clothes Campaign says. It is now calling on KIK to acknowledge responsibility, take immediate action to investigate the causes of the fire, ensure redress for the victims, and to conduct a full safety review of its other suppliers.

KIK, which stands in German for 'The Customer Is King', is Germany's seventh-largest clothing retailer with more than 3200 stores in eight European countries.

Even though it claims to operate a code of conduct for its suppliers, Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan believes "a 30-minute visit to the factory would have revealed that the labourers are provided with none of the facilities that the owners claim in the documents [sent to buyers]."