Health and safety of garment workers in Pakistan
No progress since 2012
There have been no noticeable improvements to the monitoring and remediating of safety issues in garment and textile factories in Pakistan since the Ali Enterprises fire of 2012 in which over 250 workers died.
State inspectorates don't have the capacity or resources to cover this extensive industry, while the private and business-led auditing systems that brands rely on are opaque and have failed again and again the expose and fix major safety risks.
Unions and labour groups in Pakistan already in 2018 came to an obvious conclusion: Pakistan needs a transparent, binding, and credible safety system in which worker representatives have a voice to finally make factories safer.
Unions & labour groups call for an Accord
Unions and labour groups have been coming together since 2017 to discuss what factory safety in Pakistan should look like and what form an Accord in Pakistan could take. A 2019 report written by CCC network members and partners in and beyond Pakistan makes the case for expanding Accord operations to Pakistan and includes several resolutions showing the consensus in Pakistan's union and labour rights groups about this solution. Find out more about the Accord in our Q&A.
- The News, Pakistan needs an Accord to ensure workplace safety // International partners, 5 September 2021
- Remake, What's next for the International Accord, 29 September 2021
- Sourcing Journal, Report: 7 years after deadly fire, 11 September 2019 -
- Sourcing Journal, Pakistan labor groups want an Accord, 9 October 2018
Workers continue to risk their lives at work
Fatal and near fatal factory incidents in garment and textile factories have continued since the Ali Enterprise fire. In September 2021 we published a timeline of factory incidents in the world-wide textile and garment industry between January and September 2021. 15 of the 36 featured incidents in the timeline happened in Pakistan.
Since then, unfortunately more workers have died in incidents in factories in Pakistan, and there were many more narrow escapes where factories caught fire beyond working hours.
We are urging all brands sourcing from these factories to turn to the Accord to organise an independent investigation into the events and for all brands that have not yet signed the Accord, to do so.
24 January 2022: 11 workers are injured in a gas explosion at NP Cotton Mills in Hub (Balochistan) after the factory tries to get access to gas despite a cut-off
23 January 2022: 8 workers need to be saved from a fire in a factory in Lahore
18 January 2022: 5 workers are killed when a bus used by the factory runs into workers standing outside the gates of the Interloop factory after its brakes fail
4 January 2022: 4 workers die inhaling poisonous gas, Artistic Milliners Unit 5
30 December 2021: Fire in a factory in a garment Lahore, no casualties
28 December 2021: It takes 5 hours to extinguish a fire in the Ayub Apparel factory in Karachi, the fire happened before working hours, so no casualties
Ahead of the 9th Ali Enterprises anniversary, unionists and labour activists held a media briefing discussing the legacy of the fire and what the International Accord could mean for Pakistan.
For the full list of speakers, please see the video description.