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Bangladesh to Raise Pay for Garment Workers

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Bangladesh's government says it plans to raise the minimum wage for garment workers in response to protests linked to last month's collapse of a factory building that killed more than 1,100 people.

Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiky announced Sunday that a new minimum wage board will issue a recommendation for new wages that would be retroactive to May 1. The recommendations would have to be approved by government ministers.

The average pay for a garment worker in Bangladesh is $38 a month.

The April 24 accident near Dhaka sparked days of protests by garment workers protesting their pay and working conditions.



On Friday, emergency workers rescued a woman who survived 17 days buried in the rubble of the garment factory complex. Crowds erupted into cheers after the woman, identified as Reshma Begum, was pulled from the ruins. Rescuers say she survived by finding reserves of water nearby.

Emergency workers had earlier given up hope that they would find any more survivors.

Authorities have arrested at least nine people in the aftermath of the collapse.

Officials say the running of several heavy generators on upper floors may have contributed to the collapse because the structure was not built to support them.

The Bangladesh government says it has shut down 18 garment factories for safety reasons following the April 24 collapse of the building that housed five garment factories.

On Wednesday, eight people died in a garment factory fire in the the capital. The fire erupted it the Tung Hai Sweater Factory after most workers had gone home.

Bangladesh's $20 billion textile industry accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country's exports.

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