- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor has earmarked millions of dollars in grants to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry, where workers often must deal with shoddy buildings and overcrowded workplaces.

The Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is granting $2.5 million to “improve fire and general building in Bangladesh,” according to CNS News. The grant announcement was made June 13, and applicants have until Aug. 2 to apply.

The bureau released an announcement that read in part: “Reports have shown that sub-standard buildings, poor emergency procedures, blocked fire exits, overcrowded workplaces, and inadequate inspection practices have resulted in a high death toll.”

A fire last month at a Bangladesh garment factory killed eight people, just two weeks after a collapse at an illegally constructed building killing more than 1,000 other. A fire in November at another factory just outside of Bangladesh’s capital killed least 112 people.

The goal of the grants is to improve the working conditions within the Bangladeshi industries from which the U.S. imports billions of dollars of its goods.

The department did not respond to several requests by CNS News for comment.

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