No Access to Justice
The families of those killed at Ali Enterprise share another fate with those families who lost loved ones at Tazreen and Rana Plaza: two years on, the victims’ families and the survivors are still waiting for the compensation they are entitled to.
In December 2012, following a large public campaign, the German company KIK, who is the only known buyer at Ali Enterprises factory, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER). In this MOU, KIK committed to paying an initial US$1 million for immediate relief, and to engage in negotiations surrounding the payment of compensation. Despite the existence of this MOU and the terms it commits KIK to, KIK continues to delay the negotiation process for compensation.
None of the affected families of these three tragedies – Ali Enterprises, Tazreen, and Rana Plaza – have been able to access justice through national law. Despite international campaigns, high level negotiations and even calls from the governments of major European countries for brands to pay what they owe, workers continue to wait for justice. The catastrophic nature of these three disasters galvanised media attention and public pressure. But workplace deaths happen regularly in factories around the world and most of them never make the headlines. For those workers whose deaths go largely unnoticed, there is little hope of ever getting the compensation they deserve.
Compensation is a right. Workers shouldn’t have to depend on campaigners to shame a company into doing the right thing. We need change. Workers who suffer at the hands of British companies abroad must be granted access to remedy and justice here in the UK.
This is why Labour behind the Label is supporting Traidcraft’s Justice Campaign, which is calling on the UK government to:
- Make it possible to bring criminal prosecutions in the UK against British companies that abuse human rights in other countries
- Remove the barriers which stop people from poor communities bringing civil cases in the UK courts
- Ensure that companies can also be held to account effectively outside the court system.
The principles of justice and accountability must be embedded into the foundation of the global garment industry if we are to realise positive systemic change. Through voicing our collective concern and desire for change, we can build a global movement which has the power to fix fashion.