Blog: September 2012

Contractualization Slammed in “Global Day of Action”

In addition to commemorating the
anniversary of PALEA’s protest against outsourcing last year, the protests also
pushed for the passage of the security of tenure bill pending at Congress.
“Aside from the reproductive health and freedom of information bills, the
security of tenure measure is also jammed at the legislative mill. This social
reform proposal seeks to restrict the epidemic of contractual work and the
proliferation of 6 months endo jobs,” explained Rene Magtubo, PM national

Beggar-Thy-Neighbor: How Burma Will Take Bangladesh’s Sweatshop Jobs

Should either country be getting new trade benefits? Bangladesh has certainly been doing its best to get kicked out of US favor as of late; beginning in 2009, activists asked that Bangladesh’s trade privileges be revoked for horrendous labor rights abuses, including tragic factory fires, arbitrary detention of labor rights activists and rampant nepotism and corruption in the industry. The recent assassination of a human rights activist even prompted Secretary of State Clinton to openly scold Bangladesh’s Prime Minister on a recent visit.

Worker Rights Movement Formed, Launching Movement Against Factory Fire Culprits

Barrister Faisal
Siddique briefed the meeting on the petition filed by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER), National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), PFF, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and other
organizations in Sindh High Court against the relevant government departments
and others responsible for the fire accident. He said that the state has totally
collapsed and only way to protect worker rights is through unified struggle.

It was the consensus of the
meeting to reject the commission and the government's half-hearted measures.

Deadly Denim: Workers Burned Alive Making Jeans for Export

than 300 trapped workers were killed in two separate fires on the same day—289
workers in an apparel factory in Karachi and 25 workers in a shoe factory in
Lahore—a day Nasir Mansoor, leader of the National Trade Union Federation of
Pakistan (NTUF)—calls the “darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s
labor movement.”

Pakistan Factory Fires Tied to Criminal Negligence by Government and Employers

Today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the Federal Investigation Agency will investigate these factory fires. The irony is that the government is still not upholding its responsibility to implement laws with sufficient political will in order to ensure the protection of workers' basic rights, including safe working conditions and freedom of association. Instead, the government's response is to investigate the incident as an isolated, exceptional incident.

Death Trap Factories in Pakistan

Ali Enterprises factory was an export-oriented factory that was established
illegally without being registered under the country's Factory Act. Here in Pakistan the majority of factories are not registered as required by the Factory Act, as to avoid rules and regulations and to deny workers their rights.

According to the Karachi Building Authority (KBA), the factory building was not propertly approved. In Pakistan, safety measures are seldom
observed in any workplace, and such was the case at Ali Enterprises. The 500 workers had no exit point except one at the time of emergency. All the factory windows were iron-grilled. Doorways and
stairs were stuffed with finished or semi-finished merchandise.

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