from The Wall Street Journal..
June 13, 2013, By MELANIE TROTTMAN
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday it will provide grants to help improve enforcement of fire and building safety standards in Bangladesh, targeting the garment sector, which accounts for about three-fourths of Bangladesh’s exports to the U.S.
The Labor Department funding will be awarded by October through the agency’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which has been providing international grants for more than a decade. It will augment efforts by the Bangladesh government to improve workplace safety, including inspections at the nation’s 5,000 factories.
Agency officials noted that while the $2.5 million isn’t an enormous sum, it is roughly 40% of the bureau’s $6.5 million budget for programs addressing workers’ rights issues.
The two “tragedies have demonstrated the need for an integrated approach to improve conditions in the ready-make garment sector by strengthening the [Bangladesh] government’s capacity and by improving the ability of worker organizations to play their part in protecting the safety workers in those garment factories,” said Eric Biel, the Labor Department’s acting associate deputy undersecretary for international affairs.