A German company KiK has signed an International Accord (Measures for the Protection of Workers and Environment) on the Bangladesh model for the protection of industrial workers in Pakistan.
The agreement was signed by KiK CEO Petrick Zahn and representatives of Pakistan's textile industry, labor protection organisation, Employers Association of Pakistan, and other stakeholders at a ceremony held at a local hotel on Thursday in Karachi. Consul General of Germany Dr Rüdiger Lotz was also present in the ceremony.
"I welcome the fact that we are close to a breakthrough with the Accord. I appeal to all those involved to pave the way now quickly. With the planned safety training, complaint mechanisms, and health committees, we can reach over one million textile workers in 700 factories," the KiK CEO said.
“The Accord Pakistan will be modeled on the successful Accord Bangladesh,” a company statement said.
“This alliance has led to an entire industrial sector in a developing country being transformed from the ground up. Since the Accord was established, there have been no major disasters in the textile industry in Bangladesh. The aim of the Accord in Pakistan is to build on this successful model.”
According to the agreement between German company KiK and Pakistani stakeholders, training will be provided to workers under the International Agreement on worker safety and making the supply chain safe for workers. Meanwhile, workers will also be empowered to file complaints for non-implementation of safety rules.
“A mechanism will be created through which laborers and workers can directly inform the appointed representatives of the KiK about the nature of the violation,” KiK's CSR Head Ansgar Lohmann responded to a question.
“Health and safety committees will be formed in the industrial units to provide a safe and healthy environment to the workers,” he added.
Consul General of Germany Rüdiger Lotz said the international agreement between Pakistan's textile industry and the German company KiK is an important milestone that will help accelerate the development of the country's textile and garment sector and ensure the safety and security of workers associated with this industry.
He said that this is an important development for Pakistan in the context of Germany's new Supply Chain Act and KiK is committed to achieving lasting results from this agreement with its partners in Pakistan. Petrick Zahn said that the company has been active for workers safety in Pakistan since 2017, but now, seeing the best results of the International Accord in Bangladesh, a similar agreement has been made with the textile industry and the trade association.
He said that during the last five years KiK has made great progress under the Pakistan Building Safety Initiative to provide fire protection to industrial units and secure electrical installations and infrastructure.
He hoped that the implementation of the International Accord would help improve the quality of Pakistan's textile production.
Lohmann said that there are more than 4,000 stores of KiK across Europe for which Pakistan is the third most important country behind Bangladesh and China.
He said KiK is buying products worth over 100 million euros from Pakistan annually, however, the implementation of the International Accord will significantly increase the export of products not only for KiK but also for other international buyers.
“Confidence in the Pakistani textile industry will also increase,” he said.
Petrick Zahn called on the factory owners, trade unions and retailers involved in the agreement “to put aside their own interests before the goal is reached and to bring about a swift and comprehensive solution for the sake of the thousands of employees”.