The death toll from a garment-factory building collapse
last month surpassed 800 Wednesday, as the government forced 18 factories to shut down temporarily
for safety improvements.
Two weeks after the collapse
of the eight-story Rana Plaza building, the disaster
is turning out to be one of the worst industrial
accidents ever, putting pressure
on the government to act to improve safety standards or risk losing Western customers.
So far, none of the 70 retailers and apparel
manufacturers that participated in a conference
call organized by U.S. officials Wednesday said they were scaling back production in Bangladesh, according to a person who was on the call.
Among other issues discussed was the status
of a review
by the U.S. government into whether Bangladesh should retain
its preferential tax treatment, according to this person.
The U.S. departments of state and labor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative convened the call to discuss ways to coordinate
efforts to improve workers' rights and working
conditions in Bangladesh.
The companies were urged to coordinate
their efforts with each other and with the Bangladesh government and other groups, including helping to pay for independent safety and fire inspectors, the State Department said by email.
The death toll from the Sana Plaza collapse
rose by more than 300 since Saturday to 803, with around 100 bodies found Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Salvage workers said they had reached the basement
of the building in Savar, a commercial
hub about 10 miles north of the capital Dhaka, and were unlikely
to recover significant
numbers of new bodies.
孟加拉制衣业年产值达200亿美元，是为全球品牌生产廉价服装的最大出口国之一。意大利贝纳通集团(Benetton Group SpA)和西班牙快速时尚零售商Mango MNG Holding SL等都曾使用过这幢大楼里的工厂。
The country's $20 billion-a-year garment
industry is one of the world's largest exporters of cheap clothing for global brands. Retailers including Italy's Benetton Group SpA and Spanish fast-fashion retailer Mango MNG Holding SL had used the factories in the building.
The government earlier this year agreed to a road map with retailers and workers' groups aimed at improving safety.
Some 800 people had died in factory accidents in Bangladesh, largely fires, in the decade
before the Rana Plaza collapse, workers' representatives estimate. That toll has now doubled.