Bangladesh's government vowed to improve workplace safety amid May Day protests by textile workers on Wednesday, a week after the collapse of a commercial building housing garment factories left 405 dead, according to the latest tally.
Rescue workers in recent hours have recovered 17 bodies amid the rubble in Savar, an industrial suburb outside the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, The Daily Star reported.
A total of 149 others remain missing, army Gen. Chowdhry Hasan Suharwardy told the newspaper.
The number of workers who survived the collapse stands at 2,437.
The disaster has shone a fresh spotlight on poor working conditions at the South Asian nation's textile factories, which supply Western multinational corporations.
Thousands of textile workers took to the streets early Wednesday in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh to demand punishment for those responsible for the tragedy, the Bdnews24 online newspaper reported.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also called on business owners to improve conditions for Bangladeshi workers.
"We must carry out programs to improve relations between workers and owners. We must create a safer work environment," she said.
Police on Sunday arrested the building's owner, who has close ties to Hasina's Awami League party. Earlier, three owners of garment factories based inside the building and two municipal engineers were taken into custody.
Spanish businessman David Mayor, head of Phantom-Tac, one of the textile factories located inside the building, is wanted by Bangladeshi police.
International retailers Primark, El Corte Ingles, Bonmarche and Joe Fresh have thus far confirmed they were supplied by one of the factories located inside the collapsed building.
Some of them, including El Corte Ingles, are offering compensation to the victims via Bangladeshi NGOs.
Some 3.4 million people are employed in the textile industry in Bangladesh, which is home to some 4,200 garment factories. EFE