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Bangladesh, U.N. agree to safety plan

DHAKA, Bangladesh – The Bangladeshi government, garment factory owners and the U.N. labor agency agreed to implement a plan to ensure labor safety as the death toll from the previous week’s building collapse near Dhaka rose to 550 on Saturday.

The plan is to be jointly implemented, a government official said, as Bangladesh has faced international pressure for the recurrence of deadly industrial disasters that have exposed poor safety standards in the garment industry, which accounts for 79 percent of the country’s export earnings.

The announcement came 10 days after the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building that housed five garment factories in Savar, 15 miles northwest of Dhaka.

It coincided with the end of a visit by the International Labour Organization’s deputy director general, Fossoun Houngbo.

The plan includes the recruitment of 200 factory inspectors in six months, an assessment of buildings’ structural safety and the relocation of vulnerable factories by the end of 2013.

Rescue officials say the death toll in the worst industrial disaster in the country has continued to rise. By late Saturday, 550 bodies had been removed from the rubble of the building that crumbled on April 24.

Dozens of people are still unaccounted for.


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