2 May 2013

Bangladesh clothing factories reopen after disaster

9:24 pm on 2 May 2013

Clothing factories in Bangladesh have reopened for the first time since the building collapse which killed more than 400 people.

About 20,000 people took part in a march in the capital, Dhaka, on Wednesday calling for safer working conditions.

Millions of workers started returning to production lines on Thursday in the industrial suburbs of Dhaka after days of unrest. There has not been any reports of major violence, the BBC reports.

Clothing factories in Bangladesh produce low-cost ready-made clothes for major Western retailers such as WalMart and H & M.

Thousands of workers began staging protests after Rana Plaza, an eight-storey commercial building collapsed on the outskirts of the capital on 24 April, trapping hundreds of people inside.

The building contained five clothing factories. At least 410 people are confirmed to have died and more than 140 are missing in the disaster. Some 2500 people were injured.

It is the country's worst industrial disaster to date.

Pope condemns 'slave labour' conditions

Pope Francis has condemned as slave labour the working conditions of those caught in the Rana Plaza building.

The Pope said he was shocked by reports that some of the labourers had been paid €38 ($US50) per month.

"Today in the world this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us - the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity," the Pope said at a private Mass on Wednesday.

"Not paying a fair wage, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking to make a profit, that goes against God," he was quoted as saying by Vatican Radio.