KARACHI - Representative organisations of trade unions and labour right activists Thursday urged the government to immediately start health and safety inspections of all chemical and garments factories in Pakistan.The inspection should be done through provincial labour departments especially in garments exporting industries which have sought social audit certifications from the international inspection companies.Addressing a joint press conference, the labour leaders, including Karamat Ali (Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Noor Muhammad (Port Workers Federation), Muhammad Jafar Khan (Muttahida Labour Federation), Nasir Mansoor (National Trade Union Federation) and others pointed out that the government of Pakistan through Commerce Ministry has provided millions of rupees funds to several garments exporting factories for seeking SA-8000 certification through international organizations. This certification is being considered as a substitute of the inspection and audit by the Labour Department. The official inspection is actually banned in Sindh and Punjab on the orders of respective chief ministers for many years, they regretted. They pointed out that an Italian company RINA, which had issued Social Audit certificate to Ali Enterprises as well as other certification companies have also issued similar SA-8000 certificates to over 100 exporting companies in Pakistan. They demanded that the government should start audit and inspection of all those companies first to ascertain health and safety facilities available in those industries. Under the Factories Act 1934 the labour departments need to conduct inspection of all the industries to ensure availability of all conducive facilities in these establishments.Karamat Ali said some international organisations working for the rights of workers like Clean Clothes Campaign are also forcing the international buyers to fulfill their responsibility and compensate the workers as some of international buyers did in countries like Bangladesh and Turkey. The Clean Clothes Campaign with labour rights organisations of Pakistan has identified a major buyer that was purchasing garments from Ali Enterprises and that buyer is being persuaded to fulfill its responsibility. The actual responsibility lies on the owners of the Ali Enterprise but those international buyers have some obligations which need to be fulfilled, he added. “The labour rights organisations have filed a petition in Sindh High Court on the Baldia factory seeking thorough investigations of the incident and an assurance by the government that such incidents are prevented in near future. The court has already ordered the government to provide details of the arrangements of health and safety facilities in all such factories within a week. Moreover, the court has also asked the government to provide details of the persons, who have given DNA test samples to ascertain the deaths of those workers whose burnt bodies were lying in the mortuaries or still not found. Karamat said that the labour organisations had decided to set up their data collection centres near the localities where a large number of workers were living. These centres set up in the offices of labour federations and trade union offices would collect information of those workers who are either missing or their bodies are not identified yet. “We believe dozens of workers are still missing because their bodies were not recovered or feared melted in the high degree of temperature during the fire,” he said. He said that all the affected people were requested to approach these centres and provide information. Those workers who have lost their jobs or injured but not received any compensation can contact these centres. He said this data would be provided to Sindh High Court also.