Workers tortured for 'extortion'

published 03-10-2013 14:16, last modified 10-10-2013 14:11
In Karachi, twelve trade union activists were charged under the Anti-Terrorist Act in March 2012. This is believed to be a response to their union activities at their workplace at a subsidiary of Al Karam Textile Mills. Six of the unionists were arrested and tortured. In May 2012 they were released on bail.
“At Al Karam, we take our responsibilities seriously. We try to benefit our stakeholders by improving upon their quality of life in ways that are beneficial for the development of the community and our business; a win-win situation.”

Al Karam Corporate website

Six of the unionists were arrested and tortured. The other six charged workers were granted bail through the High Court before an arrest. No final verdict has yet been announced.

The Clean Clothes Campaign has informed the EU Delegation to Pakistan, the British High Commission and several embassies about the case. A meeting with the president and the general secretary of the Power Loom Mazdoor Union (PLMU), the deputy general secretary of the Pakistani National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and the Danish consul was arranged with the help of CCC.

Legal assistance for the charged workers has been financially supported by CCC.

The Clean Clothes Campaign and European diplomatic representatives in Pakistan ensured that observers were present at the trial of the accused, to verify whether they will receive a fair trial. There have been several hearings, most of them with delays. There is no final verdict yet.

See also:

Case narrative by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Union members arrested for their union activism

What do companies and Multi Stakeholder Initiaves think of the CCC? *

“CCC has been one of the defining influences on code of conduct over the last 10 years. Codes of conduct have moved from being a fringe idea to a central plank of single CSR policy in the industry. A large part of that is because CCC internationally have been a champion for the role of brands taking action... and have placed and kept the issue in the public domain.”

“CCC have had impact by raising our awareness, triggering the development of our code of conduct and our subsequent mechanisms on monitoring, disclosure practises, decision to join MSI, training and follow-up.”

“If there is a critical situation in a factory that we have not become aware of ourselves, we do of course react immediately, if this is brought to our attention by CCC.”

“All activities raise awareness but do not change policies, urgent appeals have most impact to improve or change the way of working with a supplier or improve a situation if needed.”

* Quotes from internal report that assesses how Clean Clothes Campaign's labour rights corporate accountability work, including the Urgent Appeal system, has impacted corporate behavior between 1994 and 2010.

Pins Brown, 2010. Impact Assessment of Corporate Accountability Activities of Clean Clothes Campaign. Unpublished report on file.