WRAPUP 6-EU considers action, Pope weighs in, after Bangladesh disaster

Wed May 1, 2013 8:08pm EDT
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* EU considers action on Bangladesh, including trade preferences

* Pope Francis condemns condition of workers as "slave labour"

* Rescuers give up hope of finding any more alive; death toll 411

* Protest march calls for death penalty

By Ruma Paul

DHAKA, May 2 (Reuters) - The European Union is considering trade action against Bangladesh, which has preferential access to EU markets for its garments, to pressure Dhaka to improve safety standards after a building collapse killed more than 400 factory workers.

Pope Francis condemned the conditions of workers who died in the disaster as "slave labour", while in Dhaka several thousand workers rallied to mark Labour Day, some calling for capital punishment for those responsible for the tragedy.

"The owner of the building ... should be hanged to death and compensation should be given to the injured and those who died," said labour leader Moshrefa Mishu. "A healthy and safe atmosphere should be made in the factories."

Duty-free access offered by Western countries and low wages have helped turn Bangladesh's garment exports into a $19 billion a year industry, with 60 percent of clothes going to Europe.   Continued...